It is classified as one of the nations with the highest life expectancy and the number of elderly people is expected to triple in the next few years. In light of these circumstances, it prepares to meet the challenge and resorts to high technology.
Ana Laura Arbesú
Although the topic is widely debated, what it means for the elderly themselves to be accompanied by a machinary, the authorities consider this service palliative prior to the growth of the aging population.
For these reasons, Japan not only makes its inventions such as bullet trains, available to its inhabitants, but also disseminate robots, from humanoids for exercise, electronic dogs and therapeutic seals to sensors that measure physiological parameters.
A residency in Tokyo is the leader in these types of initiatives and offers the most up-to-date advacements to their clients.
It is considered a pioneer in high technology for looking after the elderly in a country with a highest life expectancy in the world with 27% of its population older than 65 years old.
Sota, a small blue and white robot, with shiny black eyes, presides in the Shintomi nursing home, on the bedside tables of its clients, together with the tablets which they take daily.
In addition to greeting them good morning and recording their medication times, this prototype of 30 centimetres, provides a camera with infrared rays which detect if the client has fallen, which would trigger an alarm on the mobile of a carer.
Also, it is capable of engaging in simple conversations with the elderly man or woman, so that they do not feel alone.
Besides being accompanied by Sota, a sensor beneath the mattress of the bed picks up vital signs in case the client has a problem during the night, such as the number of times that they wake up. It can then count the number of hours which they have slept and evaluate their rest.
The patients of this residence are also entertained with exercise and games, led by robots such as Pepper, one of the most popular robots in Japan. Pepper, is also used as used as a shop assistant in commercial establishments.
With its white human-like body, measuring 1.2m, and it’s friendly personality, Pepper can connect to the internet on a little screen on its chest. It detects emotions by reading facial expressions and tone of voice.
Various models of Aibo, the mechanical dog from Sony and Paro, a soft furred seal, designed for therapeutic purposes, that helps to calm patients with dementia, are also made available to patients in the home.
The elderly feel alone and the robots offer company, explains the residence manager, Kimiya Ishikawa, who has worked in geriatric centers since 1981.
Japan is at the technological forefront for improving its efficiency and reducing the workload of its employees.
With these social services and technological advancements, we must allow the elderly to have a dignified life, because a day will come when we too will need it. In Japan this is a very current topic.
Only, a robot does not offer the direct care of loved ones or the company at home which you want when struggling with everyday life. (PL)
(Translated by Shanika Whight – email@example.com) – Photos: Pixabay