Close enough to care : replacing human caregivers with robots in homecare
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The robot as caregiver is emerging as a viable option for limited use in seniors care facilities around the world. However there are concerns that as the ageing population steadily increases and caregivers become more scarce, the robot could replace humans as primary caregivers. Approaching the robot as a communication machine, the societal impact of robotic caregiving is explored through the first hand accounts of the very people who could be recipients of robotic care. Using an audience reception study, the views and feelings of senior homecare recipients are chronicled in a video documentary, which explores the expectations and attitudes towards both robots, and human caregivers. What emerges is a compelling look at the challenges of ageing in an increasingly digital and automated world. The seniors discuss overcoming loneliness, the value of close companionship, and feelings about robots that range from curiosity and amusement to fear and isolation.