Marriage and children were never in the cards for me, and so I often wonder who will take care of me when I’m no longer able to do so. The answer may well be robots. An article in Business Insider informed me late last year that we 50-somethings can expect to be cared for by robots in our dotage. This wasn’t a surprise, as I’d researched the role of robots in elder care while writing Become an Informed Caregiver: What You Should Know When Caring for an Aging Loved One.
There are lots of options already on the market, and many more in development. For example the CareBot reminds a senior — who doesn’t have a caregiver on site — to take her medications and feed the dog. It will also alert her when her favorite TV show is about to start. The CareBot carries on conversations and calls the senior’s caregiver if she falls or there’s a fire or other emergency. Other robots on the market let caregivers see and talk with their loved ones via Skype or Facetime (see OhmniLabs’ machine as an example). The caregivers remotely control these robots, which are touted as useful for seniors without smartphones or computers.
But for those of us who are single and without kids, who will these machines call when we fall or have an emergency? My earlier question still stands: Who will take care of me?
I know robots will have changed significantly by the time I need help. I certainly hope so, because I’m telling you right now I will never, ever let Nadine anywhere near me. Who’s Nadine? A truly terrifying robot featured in Michele Hanson’s March 2016 article in The Guardian. Check it out. In the meantime will someone please find a cure for allergies? I’d really rather have a dog take care of me in another 20 years or so. How about you?