What are robots?

A robot is a type of automated machine often designed to carry out tasks performed by humans. They have been used in the manufacturing industry for many years to prevent humans entering hazardous environments. There is now a range of different robots that aim to improve the wellbeing of older adults residing in residential aged care or their own homes. [1]

How are robots used in aged care?

In aged care, robots have several different uses. They can direct exercises, [2] provide emotional support, [3] and encourage social interactions. [4] Examples of robotic technology used in aged care include robopets such as PARO, care robots such as the Care-O-bot or Zora, assistive walking robots, and robots used to manage medication. Socially assistive robots (that assist humans to interact) can be used in aged care to support older adults to interact with others and prevent social isolation and feelings of loneliness. [5]

How can robots benefit the aged care sector?

Robots have the potential to improve quality of life for individuals receiving aged care. Robots can assist with daily functional tasks such as bathing, [6] which can support care workers, and assist older adults to maintain their independence and dignity. Robots can provide mobility support for older adults and can assist individuals to get out of bed or stand up from a chair and walk, reducing the risk of falls. [7] Socially assistive robots that encourage older adults to interact socially with others (e.g., robopets, companions, service robots, or both companion and service), can increase social interactions and reduce depression, loneliness, and agitation for older adults (especially those living with dementia). [5] Robots can assist aged care workers by monitoring the health of older adults and supporting the safe distribution of medications. [8]

Examples of robots in aged care 

Some robotic technologies include:  

  • PARO: A robopet that can be used to stimulate interaction and engagement for older adults, especially those living with dementia.
  • Care-O-bot: A domestic robot that can be used to carry meals and drinks and enables older adults to mobilise safely with their hands free. 
  • Zora: A software solution designed to assist nurses and aged care workers in the support the elderly. It is compatible with the robot Nao (pronounced now). 

Connect to PubMed evidence

This PubMed topic search is focused on research conducted in aged care settings (i.e., home care and residential aged care). You can choose to view all citations or free full-text articles.

  1. Vandemeulebroucke T, Dierckx de Casterlé B, Gastmans C. The use of care robots in aged care: A systematic review of argument-based ethics literature. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2018;74:15-25.
  2. Melkas H, Hennala L, Pekkarinen S, Kyrki V. Impacts of robot implementation on care personnel and clients in elderly-care institutions. Int J Med Inform. 2020;134.
  3. Pu L, Moyle W, Jones C. How people with dementia perceive a therapeutic robot called Paro in relation to their pain and mood: A qualitative study. J Clin Nurs. 2020;29(3-4):437-446.
  4. Khosla R, Chu MT, Khaksar SMS, Nguyen K, Nishida T. Engagement and experience of older people with socially assistive robots in home care. Assist Technol. 2021;33(2):57-71.
  5. Fogelson DM, Rutledge C, Zimbro KS. The impact of robotic companion pets on depression and loneliness for older adults with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Holist Nurs. 2022;40(4):397-409.
  6. Klein B, Schlomer I. A robotic shower system: Acceptance and ethical issues. Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2018;51(1):25-31.
  7. Nomura T, Kanda T, Yamada S, Suzuki T. The effects of assistive walking robots for health care support on older persons: A preliminary field experiment in an elder care facility. Intell Serv Robot. 2021;14(1):25-32.
  8. Turjamaa R, Vaismoradi M, Kangasniemi M. Older home care clients' experiences of digitalisation: A qualitative study of experiences of the use of robot for medicines management. Scand J Caring Sci. 2022.