Workshop on “Improving the quality of life in the elderly using robotic assistive technology: benefits, limitations, and challenges”

WS5: 30 October, Full day Workshop, at ICSR 2015, Paris

Description and Objectives

The aim of this workshop is to widen the debate on how best to ensure that robotics fully enters the mainstream of well-being, health and social care service provision for the rapidly rising proportion of the elderly in the developed and developing countries.

It will focus on the problems that have bedeviled acceptance of technology, which although designed to help the elderly to cope with the problems of ageing and to maintain their autonomy and independence, has frequently been roundly rejected.

The programme has been designed to address these problems with the pro-active involvement of the conference members throughout. Its four sessions will broadly cover how best to bridge the generic acceptance gap with the elderly; the concerns that arise; the inherent lifestyle changes involved; and inevitable interaction issues that occur.

During the workshop, prominent researchers that are investigating the application of social robotics to an ageing population will share their experiences and discuss about its application on several areas, such as entertainment, assistance, and surveillance, among others.

As this is destined to be a long term problem that will not go away, the intention is to establish an Interest Group that will act as an ongoing think-tank that will continue to build on the knowledge gained through the dynamics of the day.

Program outline

Part A: Robotic assistive technology evolution: a strategic vision

The first session considers the impact of the forecast doubling of proportion of elderly whilst that of the working population halves – with the implication that the already overloaded clinical and social care resource will collapse unless technology can adequately fill the resultant gap.

It then examines the spectrum of care support needed to cope with the increasing range of impairments and domains that ageing entails – and the resulting process improvements and technology functionality that will be required to bridge the gap.

The second session focuses on how the largely dissociated segments of evolving technologies need to be viewed strategically, and brought together into a seamless spectrum of compatible functionality – that is designed to help the elderly to maintain their health and well-being for as long as possible.

It then tackles the combined core problems of often inept prescription of inappropriate systems by inadequately trained or knowledgeable staff, coupled with that of latent or actual distrust of technology by the elderly – without which the gap will never be filled

Morning session I

  • Ageing Nations: The Scope and Scale of the Global Challenge
  • Impacts of Ageing: The Care Support Needs Spectrum

Morning session II

  • The Digital Economy: The Support Spectrum
  • Technical Acceptance & Co-Design/Co-Production

Part B: Experiences using social robots

In this part of the workshop we will explore the benefits that social robots (SR) bring to elder people. The afternoon sessions will collect experiences of prominent researchers that are investigating the application of social robotics to an ageing population. Researchers will present and discuss about its application on several areas, such as entertainment, assistance, and surveillance, among others. Besides, the possibility of extending their independent life thanks to a SR represents one of the main benefits for elders. It is aimed at presenting a global view of the current state of the art. Based on it, researchers will identify the next steps that scientists have to take before SR are widely deployed to elderly’s home, nursing home, or day care facilities.

Afternoon session I

Using social robots to improve the quality of life in the elderly (I)

Afternoon session II

Using social robots to improve the quality of life in the elderly (II)

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