LIVNG IN PLACE, independently, alone, after my husband's death, then retiring years later, resulted in changes that prompted necessary adaptations in my life coinciding with my aging. As I've written here earlier, I've gradually become aware daily activities that once were incidental in the scheme of living are increasingly taking more time, and effort. I've realized some assistance from others is becoming necessary to maintain my lifestyle, living in my home with no family locally to assist me.
Preparation for those occasions when I might not be able to take care of my basic needs including when I become ill have required some pre-planning. All other times, ordinary routine shopping at a store, cooking and cleaning, even driving my car, have necessitated I plan ahead but they took on unexpected importance when the pandemic emerged. I've benefited from the increased availability of pickups, deliveries, ordering online, even occasional aid from kind-hearted young neighbors. On the other hand, I've been reticent about hiring help to come into my home lest they expose me to the virus.
I've continued to pay attention to any services that are becoming available or are expected in the future that could enhance my being able to remain in my home through this final stage of my life. More and more older people have indicated, just as I am doing, they prefer living in place in their residences to moving into facility groupings for older people such as nursing homes, retirement communities, other type senior residences.
Our U.S. government has not taken action to adjust our health care system financing to enable more older people to remain in their homes rather than have to go into a facility to receive needed care. I think this should be a health care goal in how to care for our older population for those who choose doing so, but one that is unlikely to occur in my lifetime. Nevertheless, I continue to note there are some efforts being made to find ways to help older people to live independently and safely in their homes. Moving, relocation from familiar surroundings can be health complicating factors for elders.
NOTE: (Added after original publishing). Reports are that costs are less for elders cared for in their residences than if they're cared for in facilities as currently occurs.
We're told our nation is having an increasing need for more doctors, nurses, caregivers and general health care workers whether older people are in hospitals, other facilities, or living in their residences. There has been some expansion of virtual care since the pandemic but where does all the extra help needed come from?
One such proposed source being explored are robots. Research and prototype robots have been created with ongoing improvements being developed. Recent years I've been intrigued by numerous news stories, videos that have shown us some of the robots, their increasing skills and capabilities, older people interacting with them and creators design plans.
Click on this recent Orange County Register newspaper article an elder friend sent me titled "6 Robot Helpers Used for Health Services, Eldercare and Social Support". These are some of the robots mentioned with links here to their sites: Elli-Q, Care-O-Bot, Qoobo, Lovot, Paro, Tombot. Do you favor one of these robots?
Some additional videos that give a glimpse of robot efforts such as this one, Rudy, designed to offer "... care and companionship to seniors" as he engages in conversation. (This PBS News Hour video with Judy Woodruff is 4:03 minutes duration.)
Then, there is the robot with AI, Mabu, involved in your health care and Jimmy. (5:55 mins. duration)