Several countries across the world are either already facing or will face a demographic disaster in the near future. They will undergo severe socio-economic pressures due to a rapidly ageing population with not enough children being born to replace the workforce. This is particularly true in North America, Europe, Russia, South Korea & Japan. According to a government report compiled in Japan in 2012, 22% of the country is 65 or older and this is expected to rise to nearly 40% by 2060. In 2010, Japan had 30 million elderly individuals in old-age homes, but a serious dearth of caregivers to assist them. These countries are the mean reason that the eldercare-assistive robot market has come into existence. Over the past few years, eldercare-assistive robot R&D has become much cheaper, giving rise to helpers with more functionality & a cheaper price. It has also gained wider acceptance not only in Japan but also in the western nations.
Eldercare-Assistive Robots Market Drivers
The ageing population in developed countries is the main driver for the eldercare-assistive robot market. According to U.N data, the global over-65 population will grow by 181% and they will account for nearly 16% of the population by 2050. Caring for these individuals will be an enormous physical, mental & emotional undertaking. There will be a tremendous shortage of qualified & willing medical personnel for this. Eldercare-assistive robots have the potential to serve this demographic exceptionally well. They can use camera sensors to supervise the senior citizen, ensure that they take their prescribed medication at the right time & also prevent them from falling & injuring themselves. Another factor is the individualistic societies in western countries, as opposed to collective Asian ones. People prefer to live on their own as much as possible. Even in old age, they prefer the privacy, comfort & security of their own homes over that of an institutional caregiver like an old-age home. To address these requirements, eldercare-assistive robots can come in handy. Not only will they fulfil the role of medical practitioner, but they can also provide human-like companionship to the patient. They will be able to enhance the health & psychological well-being of the elderly in several ways. By reminding them off daily tasks & other important information, they could help dementia patients. With informal chit-chat, they might keep a senior citizen’s mind sharp, reducing the probability of clinical depression, or Alzheimer’s disease. Robots could also act as telepresence machines, bridging the gap between doctors and their elderly patients. These individuals might not always be able to travel to the hospital to seek treatment, & frequent nurse visits are also very costly. The doctor could check in with their patients through the robot’s screen, even control the machine for simple tasks. These are some of the factors helping the eldercare-assistive robot market.
Eldercare-Assistive Robots Market Restraints
There are a few challenges faced by the eldercare-assistive robot market. These robots must be able to manage & cope with more uncertain environments than industrial robots. This makes it a challenge to build safe & certified ones. Another issue might be human opposition. Either the elderly individual, their family or both might not be comfortable with the idea of a robot playing a caregiver role. Older people, in particular, might be very resistant to adopting high-tech equipment like eldercare-assistive robots to simplify their lives. Cost can also be a major restraint. While the price of these assistive robots has dropped over the last decade, they still cost thousands of dollars each. People from lower income or middle-class families might not see the benefit in adopting them as much. Even with many advances made in the eldercare-assistive robot market, it is estimated that it will be several decades before full assistive robotic care is possible.
Eldercare-Assistive Robots Market Key Regions
The main eldercare assistive robot markets are those regions which have an ageing population, i.e. North America (barring Mexico), the E.U, Japan, and China & South Korea. Japan is the largest eldercare-assistive robot market since it has the most rapidly ageing population along with very low immigration & birth rates. It also has several domestic players involved in making assistive robots. North America has also slowly but surely begun to warm up to the eldercare-assistive robot market.
Eldercare-Assistive Robots Market Key Market Players
Some of the companies involved in the eldercare-assistive robot market are Paro Robots, Aldebaran, Togo Seisakusyo Corporation, and Hasbro.
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