Care, monitoring, and companionship : views on care robots from older people and their carers

Simon Jenkins, Heather Draper

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    27 Citations (Scopus)
    478 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper is a discussion of some of the ethical issues relevant to the use of social robots to care for older people in their homes, drawing on qualitative data collected as part of the Acceptable robotiCs COMPanions for AgeiNg Years (ACCOMPANY) project. We consider some of the tensions that can be created between older people, their formal (professional) carers, and their informal carers (for example friends or relatives), when a care robot is introduced into the home of an older person. As examples of these tensions, we discuss the use of the care robot as a monitor of older people and carers, for example to ensure older people’s compliance with healthcare regimes, or to police the behaviour of carers to ensure that they are complying with professional guidelines. We also consider the use of care robots in a companionship role for older people, and
    describe the importance of clearly delineated roles for care robots. The paper concludes that older people’s autonomy can be limited in the short term in order to protect their longer term autonomy, and that even if care robots should primarily be considered as being for healthcare rather than for companionship, they might still be used sensitively so that their interference with the companionship role is minimised.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)673-683
    JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
    Issue number5
    Early online date15 Sept 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


    • care robots
    • older people
    • monitoring
    • qualitative data
    • companionship
    • health


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