Intelligent robots are elder and long-term care good helpers!

"Long-term Care Insurance Law" finally in January 8, 2014 at the Legislative Yuan passed the preliminary examination, so that the Ministry of Health and Welfare finally have the legal resources to integrate long-term care planning. Currently the draft of long-term care law is focusing on caring for disabled elders. Some elders are cared by family members, but most of them still need to hire foreign caregivers at home 24 hours, or choose local workers but costly (about 60,000 Taiwan dollars per month). However, in the long run, to resolve the plight of long-term medical care for the elders in our country, the long-term planning should be the development of robot-based home care.

Department of Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University Chair Professor Ren C. Luo, Director of NTU -International Center of Excellence in Intelligent Robotics and Automation Research (NTU-iCeiRA), says: "Low birth rate, aging and long-term care issues, has become an important indicator of social welfare policies in many countries in Europe, America and Asia. According to statistics, compared to care facilities like nursing homes and home care, the majority of the elders and long-term care patients choose home care that is in a familiar environment and let oneself feel warmer and happier. Intelligent robot can help the patient get out of bed, shot back, massage, move to the toilets and bathrooms, dine in the table and watch TV in the living room, etc. ... and also can provide help to read news of the day, report the weather conditions and temperatures, be medication reminders and other services, to become a good helper and partner. From the low birth rate, the evolution of an aging society and the needs of other social benefits, this trend has been brewing and become the Silver Economy bringing vast business opportunities."

According toWorld Health Organization (WHO), an aging society is defined as that the people over 65 years old exceeds 7% of the total population. By this definition and the Ministry of the Interior R.O.C. statistics, the elderly population was 11.15% of the total population by the end of 2012, indicating Taiwan is already an aging society, and will be hyper-aged society very soon in the future.

Become an agingsociety, government has the responsibility for elderly long-term care policy. To support medical robotics industry, we must see from the humane point of view to make human-machine interaction safer and let the user has peace of mind. We should develop a robot to make up the manpower shortage of social workers and caregivers, so that it can right respond to social welfare issues, and meet themass needs of manpower of medical care generated by the aging and declining birthrate.

Professor Ren C. Luo, Director of NTU-iCeiRA, also pointed out that"Thedevelopment of intelligent medical robotics will not only enhance our intelligent automation, optical and electrical integration, and information communication technology (ICT), but also create massive opportunities of silver economy. After all, good welfare system and medical care is an indicator of a country's civilization. Since our country is trying to create a "Kingdom of Happiness" to improve Better Life Index, the development of intelligent health care robots to complement social workers and caregivers shortages is real urgent. " 

InformationSource: NTU - iCeiRA 

This news has already been republished on CNA website(