Recent news stories claim by the year 2045 over half of the jobs will be performed by robots. Rice University Professor Moshe Vardi, speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said, "If machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?"
The COVID-19 virus crisis has dramatically increased the use of technology in all areas of health care. Robots don't get sick from a virus, at least not a biological virus.
Sound like science fiction? Maybe you remember 'Rosie,' the maid. She was the humanoid robot fictional character in 'The Jetsons' cartoon. Maybe you saw 'Robot & Frank.' It was a science fiction comedy-drama film released in 2012. Set in the near future, it focuses on an aging jewel thief whose son buys him a domestic homecare robot. Resistant at first, Frank warms up to the robot when he realizes he can use it to restart his career as a cat burglar.
Comedy. Science fiction. Well, wait just a moment. Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN, Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com, writes in a recent column that robotics have been playing an increasing role in-home health care.
“Automatic devices have been making life easier for those with the financial means to afford them. Now it’s expected that this market will quadruple by 2025 and it will include benefits for the in home care industry as well.“Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN
Greg Nichols in ZDNet Blog writes, “The days of unconnected consumer robotics products are numbered.” “Wi-Fi is rapidly becoming standard technology in home care robots, beginning with floor cleaners. Today, wireless connectivity merely allows robot systems to be controlled and monitored remotely, but looking forward, their connectivity, mobility, sensors, and functionality, such as machine vision, will expand their capabilities as part of the smart home."Philip Solis, Research Director at ABI Research
Robots at Work Today
We already see common uses of robotics in medicine. Surgical and interventional robots are commonplace in major hospitals in the U.S. and around the world. The use of this technology has increased because of COVID-19 and will continue in the decades ahead.
In Japan, where an aging population is creating challenges in the healthcare industry and burdens on families, Toyota and Honda have been building robots that can perform many nursing services.
Japan has been at the forefront of robot production and usage in many nursing homes, with about 60% now using robots. The greater demand for long-term health care because of a growing aging population has given the technology a big role in caregiving but not at human caregivers' expense. Researchers found, had between eight to 11 percent more staff than those who didn't adopt robots.
This is not some futuristic fantasy - it is today.
“There will be a growing need for Long-Term Care in the United States as 76 million baby boomers reach old age.”
“There will be a huge demand for care and a shortage of caregivers.”Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
Robots Will Help Humans - Not Repalce Them
While robotics may cost less than their human counterpart, they will not replace them entirely. Neither robots nor humans are free. Robots will help and perhaps allow more people to get quality care, but people will still need to be part of the caregiving team. With so many people requiring long-term care services, these LTC services will eat retirement savings and impact a family’s lifestyle.
“Many of these tasks are currently being performed by home care aides, home health care providers, and in some cases family members. A major concern is the physical toll it can have on these men and women offering that level of physical support.”Valerie VanBooven
She writes that the robot can reduce the burdens placed on human caregivers and family members. She adds injuries become more likely when a home health aide or family member attempts to do heavy lifting many times without proper support or even training.
“It’s not expected that this boom in robotics technology for in-home care will replace home care aides or the need for them, but rather offer another level of physical assistance to help make life easier for seniors and disabled adults for whom some of these daily tasks become too difficult or even impossible to do on their own.”Valerie VanBooven
Long-Term Health Care is Expensive
Personal funds will still be required to pay for these home health care robots as custodial extended care services are not paid for by health insurance or Medicare. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, will pay for LTC services only if a person has little or no savings and income.
Long-Term Care Insurance will, in many cases, pay for these future robots. Many policies have ‘alternative care’ provisions which can pay for these type of services. Some plans have cash benefits that can also be used to pay for your future robot.
“In either case planning to safeguard your future retirement savings is essential. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance can provide the resources to deal with the financial costs and burdens of aging. Many people start planning when they are younger as they continue to fund their 401(k)’s at work to protect those assets and make sure they will never burden their family.”Matt McCann, a well-known specialist in LTC planning.
The future is here and maybe you will have your own personal robot.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Prepare for the challenges that come with getting older. The costs and burdens of aging will change our lifestyles and create dependency on family members unless we prepare before we get older and experience significant health changes.
Planning for Long-Term Care is Key to Successful Retirement
Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will give help you avoid dependence on your family in addition to protecting your income and assets. You will have access to your choice of quality care, including in-home care, which most people prefer.
Many of today's Long-Term Care Insurance policies may even pay for technology in the future that may not even be on the drawing boards today.
The cost of long-term health care is expensive. Long-Term Care Insurance safeguards your income and assets and reduces the stress and burdens otherwise placed on your loved ones.
Research Tools on LTC NEWS
LTC NEWS offers many resources to learn about the available options and learn about long-term health care issues. Click here and discover these resources.
This comprehensive guide is an outstanding first-read - The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide. Be sure to take notes so you can ask the appropriate questions when you speak with a qualified and trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist.
This conversation is one you should have with a specialist as most financial advisors, or insurance agents lack the knowledge required in underwriting, policy design, tax implications, and claims. Find a specialist who works with the major companies by clicking here.
Discussion Points with a Specialist
When you speak with a specialist, be sure they discuss with you the following:
- Partnership – Most states offer special policies that provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection. The Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program might be one of the best-kept secrets in retirement planning. Make sure the specialist explains this program and how it might help you.
- Tax incentives – There are federal tax incentives available for some people. If you own your own business, be sure to ask.
- Health Savings Accounts – If you have an HSA, you can use the pre-tax money in your account to pay for the premium.
- Asset-Based or Hybrid policies – These are life insurance or annuities with a rider for long-term care. Careful, only a handful are actually a long-term care benefit. However, one of these policies can provide you with the flexibility of both a long-term care benefit or a death benefit. They are expensive but can be paid with a single premium.
- Health and Family History - Make sure the specialist asks you detailed questions about your health, family history, and retirement plans. Underwriting criteria vary with each insurance company. If they are not asking you detailed questions, then find another specialist.
LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator
Take a moment and find the current and future costs of long-term care where you live. This information helps you see the financial impact of long-term care on your savings and helps you decide the amount of coverage appropriate for you in your situation.
Find your state and use the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator by clicking here.
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You can write a story for publication on LTC NEWS and let America hear what you have to say. Be sure your article fits the LTC NEWS target audience of adults 40-70. Topics can include stories on several topics, including aging, caregiving, health and fitness, long-term care, retirement planning, and more.
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