Survey Shows People Open to Robot Caregivers

COVID-19 has already brought robotic nurses and caregivers to the front lines. In the decades ahead, robots could become a big part of caregiving worldwide.

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Survey Shows People Open to Robot Caregivers
3 Min Read May 16th, 2021

Like much of the world, Japan has an aging crisis. Demographics show the extent of the problem as 41.24% of Japan's population is aged 55 and older. Since so many people need help with daily living activities, families in Japan found themselves in the role of a caregiver for an aging parent.

To alleviate some of the burdens of family caregivers in Japan, the Japanese government started the national Long-Term Care Insurance system in 2000. While the policies will pay for long-term health care services finding caregivers is a growing problem in Japan. However, Japanese technology may help reduce the problem, and surveys show the Japanese people are open to the idea. The technology may find its way to the United States and the rest of the world. 

Robots are already in place around the world, providing some nursing-type services. A survey administered by a Tokyo-based senior care provider showed over 80% of respondents have a favorable view toward using robots for nursing care. Only 14.7% rejected the idea of using robots as caregivers. 

Unlike Humans, Robots Can’t be Burdened

The survey showed a majority of those surveyed worried about being a burden on human caregivers, with 51.3% saying they would not have to worry about a robot's welfare.  What this means is people may use care sooner if they wouldn’t have to worry about being a burden of a loved one or other human being.

The shortage of human caregivers, be it informal, unpaid family members or paid care services, is having an adverse effect on people who require long-term care services and supports. 

Higher Wages for Human Caregivers Will Increase LTC Costs Even More

In the United States, the Biden administration proposals to fund in-home care services for those on Medicaid, the medical welfare program, may increase wages for caregivers. While this is great news for those hard-working caregivers, the middle and upper-middle class who are ineligible for Medicaid will find even higher costs for paid services. 

Those with Long-Term Care Insurance already have guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for care; however, many people who purchase policies lack inflation benefits to keep up with the growing cost of extended health care. These policyholders would see more out-of-pocket expenses they may not be prepared for in the future. Since most people who purchase LTC Insurance in the U.S. are in their 50s, the cost of care services would likely be much higher decades in the future when they require care.

LTC Insurance Might Pay for Robots in the Future

Some Long-Term Care policies in the United States have alternative care provisions that would pay for services not specifically listed in the policy but would benefit the policyholder's care and be cost-effective. Robotic caregivers could be one of those items covered by LTC Insurance.

Many people reject the idea of buying Long-Term Care Insurance because they think it is too expensive or they would never need it. Policies are usually affordable for most people, especially those in their 40s or 50s with reasonably good health. Since LTC Insurance is medically underwritten and priced, in part, by age at the time a person obtains coverage, acting soon than later is the best option. 

Surveys worldwide have one thing in common; most people do not want to burden their families. Caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding. Paid care will get more costly every year and, according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, is already around $100k a year for a nursing home. In-home care, adult day care centers, memory care, and assisted living cost less than nursing homes but are not cheap.

Medical alert systems are already in place to assist humans in caring for people and help them remain at home. LTC Insurance usually will also pay for these devices. 

Experts recommend speaking with a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist that works with the major companies to help you navigate the many options. Premiums vary over 100% between companies, so their advice is critical.

Find a specialist by clicking here. Meanwhile, Rosie, the robot, may become your caregiver in the future one way or the other.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

A complete retirement plan should include a strategy for longevity and the impact that long-term health care will have on you, your family, income, savings, lifestyle, and legacy. This includes the consequences due to dementia. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you access to your choice of quality care either at home or in a facility.

Remember, Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for long-term custodial care, the most common type of care we will need. Health insurance, including Medicare and Medicare Supplements, will only pay for a small portion of skilled care. Medicaid will only pay if you have little or no savings and income.

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