Understanding the attitudes and preferences of current and future older adults in the use of robots to facilitate occupational performance
Keywords: service robots, older adults, future older adults, user preferences, acceptability, attitudes
Overview of Research
As the number of older adults is growing in Canada, there is an increased need for occupational support to enable these individuals to “age in place”, or remain living at home. Concurrently, technology, such as service robots, is evolving and gaining recognition for their potential to facilitate independence in the daily activities. Despite the potential for service robots to assist older adults in activities of daily living, few studies have investigated client acceptability and preferences for the design and use of these robots at home. These preferences may also differ between current and future older adults (i.e. baby boomers) due to their core values and experiences with technology.
As modern robots are currently designed to fix specific health problems, studies are often conducted with current older adults in mind as opposed to baby boomers, who may have not yet experienced impairments. Service robots should also be investigated for their potential to proactively prevent health decline in baby boomers, who are also in need of support while caring for their aging parents.
In order to gain a more in-depth understanding of how service robots can be incorporated into daily life, more profound methodologies need to be carried out and data collection tools should be appropriately developed to include future older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this mixed methods study is to identify the acceptability and preferences regarding the use and design of service robots in current (i.e. aged 65+) and future (i.e. aged 50-64) older adults and explore the differences between the two age groups.