The challenge of aging societies and the decreasing number of nurses has led to the trend that older persons are encouraged to stay in their own residences as long as possible with an increasing need for support from informal carers. Providing informal care is satisfying in the sense that it provides meaning to life and companionship. However, informal carers experience high levels of stress, mental and physical fatigue, problems at work, social withdrawal, and sleeplessness. In addition, homecare nurses are experiencing an increased workload and unbearable levels of stress due to an imbalance between the ratio nurses and clients. Sustainability of care could be secured by complementing the human care with support offered through specialized, intelligent technology. Such technologies could help seniors to stay longer in their own residence with some degree of independence, which would decrease the workload of caregivers.
GUARDIAN is a European research project that provides an innovative approach to support caregivers by means of a social robot that:
- Provides information about the situation at home to the caregivers through human-robot dialogue and through sensing;
- Provides daily structure for the senior through reminders to eat or drink or take medicine.
How GUARDIAN works
GUARDIAN is a platform that consist of a social robot in the home of the elderly that is connected to caregiver apps through the GUARDIAN cloud. The social robot serves as a companion of the elderly and interacts with the older person at home. It gives reminders to eat or drink or take medicine and it provides daily structure for the senior. The robot also serves as the ‘eyes, ears and a communication channel’ for the caregiver. It unobtrusively senses the overall well-being of the senior and provides feedback to the formal and informal caregivers. The caregivers are able to instruct the robot remotely through the app to engage in dialogue, send a message that will be relayed by the robot, or the person in need of care can be contacted directly. This relieves the home care nurses form high workload since time-consuming routine tasks and check-ups can now be done by the robot. GUARDIAN also provides a helping hand and reduces stress and care burden of informal carers by keeping them informed and by easing communication between relatives. On top of that, with GUARDIAN, seniors have a companion that can take over tasks from caregivers, support at home with reminders, safety, and contacts with others to improve the social connectedness and independency. This makes it possible for frail seniors to live in their own house for as long as possible.
The frail senior will be able to prolong independent living by having a companion that can take over tasks from caregivers.
The informal caregiver will be relieved from stress and care burden by providing a communication channel and information about the well-being of the senior.
The homecare nurse will be able to monitor the well-being of the senior and can perform routine tasks and check-ups via the robot.