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Robots in Nursing Homes?

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posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 05:36 PM
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I've heard that the Japanese will have a shortage of under-40 people and a surplus of over 70 people a decade from now, which means there will not be enough people to tend to the elderly; and the proposed solution, at least the one that keeps floating about is: robots.

Now, this issue is both a psychological, philosophical and practical issue.

Robots can do some things very well. They can build for us; they can automate many droning processes that right now are performed by human beings. But there is arguably one thing robots cannot do and probably wont ever be able to do: pick up on the subtle social-emotional relational cues that make "being with another person" so soothing.

I think deep down this reflects something more sinister about our present psychology: a deep disconnect from what we implicitly experience and know about ourselves. On the other hand, perhaps its possible that the people generating these ideas might be 'robot-like' in their thinking; some psychologists believe a schizoid personality structure common amongst computer-geeks has lent credibility to an idea that simply cannot be put to the test.

How do you test emotions? How do you get a robot to recognize certain cues that take a 'global' awareness: of tone of voice, facial expression, in addition to the semantics of the conversation?

Anybody who works at an retirement home or has worked though recognizes that the defining feature isn't "someone doing something" i.e. merely performng mechanical duties; but the connectedness between worker and resident; the basic relationship that forms within the home gives it a deep sense of community.

Now the idea of injecting robots and expecting robots to perform as a real affectively alive human would just sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.

Anybody else?




posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 05:48 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

I don't know about Japan but El Camino Hospital uses them to deliver drugs and sheets. I guess people can no longer be trusted to do that anymore.

image

Article

I met one once coming off an elevator. The door opened and it just sat there blocking the door. We stared at each other for what seemed an eternity. Finally the nurse across the hall said, If you move aside it can exit the elevator.

Oh, I said, and stepped aside for it.
edit on 8-11-2014 by intrptr because: spelling



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 05:53 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Why is this in political issues?

The Japanese are a strange breed, that's for sure. They would have been the last ones I would have figured to come up with an idea like this. True, they're good at making things like that but they also have a culture that I always saw as refined. Detached from the rest of the world in a way, but still refined to the point where they would see the idiocy in this idea.

I don't this working at all though. They base the need for this on the fact that people under 40 will be at a bare minimum. So 50 or 60 year olds can't take care of 70 or 80 year olds? I don't get their logic here. I see this as an attempt to make more of a market in robotics so people can keep their jobs or obtain new one's. As if this market is drying up? I don't know, but it sounds more logical than a NEED for robots to take care of senior citizens.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 05:56 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

This make me very sad.

Very sad, indeed.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 05:56 PM
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a reply to: Taupin Desciple

I couldn't find an appropriate forum for this. A mod can put it in a better place if they so choose.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 06:54 PM
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It doesn't seem that many people are really informed about the state of American nursing homes today, so perhaps I may shed a bit of light upon the subject being a health care professional. The vast majority of nursing homes are owned and operated by large corporations who's main goal is PROFIT and it is their only goal... sure they may pay for female employees to have their eggs frozen but that is so they will not have to loose productivity which would effect the corporate bottom line. So if you think that corporations act out of compassion or empathy, I would ask you to rethink your position. It is common for a nursing home to be staffed on 3-11 shift with two nurses and two nurses aids for 25 patients, all of whom are prescribed many unnecessary meds, including anti-psychotics ( for behavior), this helps the bottom line of the pharmaco- medical- industrial complex and in the long run is detrimental to the patient. Meanwhile unless the patient was savvy enough to seek legal help (more than 5 years ahead of going to the nursing home) to protect ones assets, the nursing home will suck the patients assets dry destroying any chance of legacy onto surviving children. Sorry for the bit of the diatribe, but this is just bit of the reality of the state of healthcare in this country. Doctor are taught about medications by data produced by pharmaceutical companies. Educate yourself, be your own advocate, question your doctors...



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 07:01 PM
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This is very sad. But if they would pay employees more to take care of human beings than to develop games and computer chips, the world would and will be a better place. I wonder if they'll develop robots to change babies diapers and warm a bottle.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 07:12 PM
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As someone currently taking care of my elderly grandfather who has a Parkinson's induced dementia this couldn't come quicker.

There is nothing I can do to help with hallucinations. I take the brunt of the bad times. He can think i'm siding with them against him to take his house. Or they constantly do things here and there that cause him distress.

If it were a robot in my place maybe I could spare myself some of the horrid things i've had to see my once strong grandfather go through, i'm essentially helping him die with dignity but feel like i'm losing my own at the same time.

I feel like as a real human being going through this that it might be better for the both of us if one side of the equation didn't actually have emotions to feel.

I swear the people around me forget that i'm slowly watching my grandpa die in the most brain numbing way.

What's worse is he actually has to go through this whether or not i'm here to help or not. It's bull#


edit on 8-11-2014 by yourmaker because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 07:20 PM
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What HUMBLEONE said, but there's more; you want to know the true depth of the situation, go to any Craigslist but especially ones in big cities; look under Jobs in Healthcare.

I can guarantee you that nearly half the jobs will be people begging for home care aides, some in nursing homes but most in home situations, and for clients of all ages. Many are disabled vets, people with brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, and middle aged people with early dementia whose family has to work during the day and can't take care of them 24/7.

While on the one hand this is a great job opportunity for anyone with a strong back, a patient demeanor and no career ambitions to speak of, these jobs are going wanting... I've seen the same ones listed over weeks and months, never to be filled. Not many 20 year olds, 30 year olds, 40 year olds, etc want to spend their days in caretaking positions. It's stressful, low paid and sometimes heavy repetitive work. Could you transfer a 200 lb man from bed to wheelchair to toilet to shower seat several times a day? What if they're quadriplegic? How about dealing with someone who doesn't even know their name and asks continually all day long, 'who are you'?

I'm not saying that if it were me confined to a bed I'd prefer a robot to a human, but something is better than nothing... and a well designed robot (think Data from Star Trek) could end up being perfectly suited as both a caretaker and an entertainment device...

With the baby boomer generation moving through the population python like a wild pig, this problem will get worse before it gets better.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 08:49 PM
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a reply to: intrptr




I met one once coming off an elevator. The door opened and it just sat there blocking the door. We stared at each other for what seemed an eternity. Finally the nurse across the hall said, If you move aside it can exit the elevator.

Oh, I said, and stepped aside for it.


See, they are already trying to dominate us. Robots coming over and taking all the jobs! They should go back to where they came from.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 11:25 PM
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a reply to: HUMBLEONE

I couldn't agree more and I was, unfortunately, speaking out of ignorance. The point of the thread was robots; and how essentially robots do not possess the type of analogic connectedness that human beings recognize non-linearly; and the point still stands.

But what you've written is also very true, and it is also very sad that this situation exists, and yet is preventable.

There is nothing more infuriating to me than the attitude "thats just the way it is"; but as bruce hornsby wisely advises us: dont you believe it! It's a reification of bad habits. Thats all it is. And you're a fooolish idiot if you think things couldn't be different.

And I do also agree that unbridled capitalistic for-profit mentality is the root-cause of it all.

Whether the solution is along socialistic lines or "conscious-capitalism" - I don't know, and I am more inclined to think that we as a society should act publicly - thus use our collective representatives i.e. government, to enforce some basic human standards; to drop the repulsive program of drugging old people; and to recognize the abhorrent relationship between drugging and pharmaceutical profit: yet another example of the indirect incentives of this unregulated industry.

This is not just old folks homes but mental hospitals and prisons. It seems people who are remotely "difficult" to work with our conveniently dealt with by putting them into chemically induced stupors: states, btw, that become increasingly difficult to reverse once the body adapts to the chronic presence of an exogenous agent (and for anti-psychotics the effects on the nervous system are truly horrifying to see).

It's the same deal; mitigate the effects and highlight the imagined "benefits"; a proper and mature cost-benefit is never done, because if it were, it would become quickly apparent what the fundamental motive is: PROFIT $$$$$$$

I'm not saying pharmacological intervention isn't useful, but all the science indicates that therapy should be conducted first; and we shouldn't pretend either like our understanding of brain-chemistry, and knowing something about one neurochemical when dozens are involved in any mental state, has that much of an effect.

As any clinical hypnotist, psychotherapist or analyst would know, BELIEF is enormously powerful in instantiating state-changes. That means, neurochemical changes.

I'm sorry to the objectivists who don't like that, but yes, causality happens both ways. Deal with it.

We as a society need to restore the experiencing subject to our thinking. Were not input-output robots. Were thinking, feeling, and believing creatures. And all of this mental activity has great influences over lower order events within the brain and body.

I'm glad you wrote what you did because it needs to be said. It's an insufferable situation to bear witness to. And I can only hope for the day when people are intrapsychically attuned enough to know what other people need.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 11:34 PM
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I think its a bit of a waste to put robots in nursing homes, once they have ended their product life-cycle then they should be recycled into new, bigger, more powerful robots to take over the world!

Robota means servant.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 11:34 PM
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I think its a bit of a waste to put robots in nursing homes, once they have ended their product life-cycle then they should be recycled into new, bigger, more powerful robots to take over the world!

Robota means servant.



posted on Nov, 8 2014 @ 11:49 PM
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a reply to: yourmaker

I'm sorry about your situation, but I would like to comment on it.

First, I think you and I know that you're position is being motivated by your own emotional pain in tending to your grandfather as he appears to suffer in this way. That's perfectly understandable; and even as I question your response, I can appreciate the pain that it causes you.

However, being a neuroscientifically savvy psychologist, I know that experience is largely framed by emotion; or the 'general socio-emotional feel of any given situation. For example, how you present yourself, how you communicate with your grandfather, all play very subtle but ultimately deterministic roles in framing how your grandfather will experience that situation.

Of course, you might counter "he's insane", or hes hallucinating; psychotic. This is true, but these also represent higher-level cognitive disturbances; and as I mentioned before, what happens 'higher' up, particularly in the case of someone who has lost his executive powers (the ability to consciously control his own thoughts) the burden transfers to the human who is with him, to communicate with him an energy, and emotional quality, that will promote a relaxed and genial subjective awareness.

This is integral - as the situation with demented people is akin in many ways to that with an infant: the infants responsivity and manner of relating is largely predicated on the mothers attunement to the infants signals. The same principle can be seen to apply here; your grandfather may convey something that you might not be emotionally receptive to; or, he becomes difficult, you lose patience and you end up provoke a more disordered psychological state in him.

As onerous as all this may sound to you, it comes from knowledge and understanding of how the human brain-mind organizes itself subjectively in interactions. Emotion underlies it all.

For you, it would definitely be easier to deny your grandfather person-hood and leave him to robots. But that would not be a moral - or compassionate way - to treat him.



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 08:58 AM
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originally posted by: signalfire
Not many 20 year olds, 30 year olds, 40 year olds, etc want to spend their days in caretaking positions. It's stressful, low paid and sometimes heavy repetitive work. Could you transfer a 200 lb man from bed to wheelchair to toilet to shower seat several times a day? What if they're quadriplegic? How about dealing with someone who doesn't even know their name and asks continually all day long, 'who are you'?



You and HUMBLEONE have made some very good points. Maybe supplementing the work with robots could be an answer. Program them do the heavy labor with a caretaker standing by to make sure it all goes right. I don't know much about that industry but there has to be a way to make our technological advances work in our favor.



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 06:34 PM
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Thank you for that.


originally posted by: Astrocyte
a reply to: yourmaker

your grandfather may convey something that you might not be emotionally receptive to; or, he becomes difficult, you lose patience and you end up provoke a more disordered psychological state in him.



So essentially become stoic no matter whats occurs. And try to throw happy thoughts at him no matter what.
I try to do that but then..


Emotion underlies it all.

And it certainly underlines me. I still see him in there. He is not lost.
It can frustrate me like nothing else to try and have a conversation, where he's hard of hearing and I have to speak up, and then he thinks i'm yelling at him, then I try to explain what i'm saying and he thinks i'm yelling at him more about something else and it cycles into both of us feeling like crap, at the same time his voice starts to really fade so I can barely hear him as he mumbles and I have to continually say to repeat things which probably annoys him

Sometimes his mind will clear for a little bit and we can have a normal conversation like 10 years ago.
He makes jokes, feels good etc. But it's very fleeting.

I'm not good at this at all, playing doctor. I can be his grandson though and I try everyday to make him feel at home.



posted on Nov, 9 2014 @ 08:20 PM
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a reply to: yourmaker




So essentially become stoic no matter whats occurs. And try to throw happy thoughts at him no matter what.


Not necessarily. You'd be surprised at the degree of latitude we have in negotiating with 'difficult' situations or emotions.

The idea is, at least in my own experience and from what I understand about the mind and the brain (based on enactive cognitive science and relational psychoanlysis) is that we essentially do have the power to influence the realities we engage with.

Your situation, granted, is especially difficult. But there's also similar situations with infants and particularly with unruly children - those aged 3 to 7 - who have various "disorders" - ADD, ASD, ODD etc - and our leeway is impressive. My sister works as an ECE and is tasked with children with major development delays - some that are on the "autistic spectrum' and others that are likely trauma-related. Unlike you, she can't control what happens outside her sphere of influence i.e. what they're parents do. Even then, she's found a lot of success; and it's not easy; it taxes your patience. And it sometimes makes her question why she's chosen this career. So I try to support her by telling her not to lose focus: when the "environment" stresses us, we lose awareness of those very things which vitalize our relations: the meaning. Meaning is the "emergent" phenomenon of self-other engagement. You find it by being attuned to your environment and living in the 'now' of it; for her, the meaning which vitalizes her relations is the knowledge that what she does can influence a childs developmental trajectory: such a fact is powerful and for her, when she's lost courage and feels dejected, taking a minute away and reminding herself of what her job MEANS changes how she interacts with the children she works with; and ultimately the effects of her interactions.

Emotions are contagious. When you work with someone who "drains you" - it's probably because you're not reminding yourself again and again of the meaning of why you're with him. And yes - it does imply some transcendental acrobatics. You do need to think beyond your mundane day to day life; and think beyond the now - to the ultimate fact: our mortality.

Yes, there is a definite stoic aspect. But it's stoic only partially; ideally you want to "push" the system - or the non-linear dynamics of the relationship - towards a "positive attractor". Stoic only in that you train yourself to tolerate 'negative affect'. But ultimately its positive - in that you posit meaning and discover within that interaction, you and your grandfather, and all that that can mean - the vitality to be with him, positively, so that you can help him in this final stage of his life.

I know it's easy - super easy, in fact - to be cynical and reduce what I've wrote to just "happy" talk. But it's true. We create our realities - create how our brains and bodies learn to 'metabolize' our subjectivity. We can either recognize this existential situation - and make the most of it; or, we can take the easy, convenient, and destructive route, and do what requires less effort on our parts.




It can frustrate me like nothing else to try and have a conversation, where he's hard of hearing and I have to speak up, and then he thinks i'm yelling at him, then I try to explain what i'm saying and he thinks i'm yelling at him more about something else and it cycles into both of us feeling like crap, at the same time his voice starts to really fade so I can barely hear him as he mumbles and I have to continually say to repeat things which probably annoys him


Aye, as a therapist I know this situation. People with a lot of dissociative tendencies can really, really push you into that cycle you speak of; where you unconsciously, not deliberately, but sort of "introjectively" take in the other persons dissociated affect, and all of a sudden you're speaking out of malice - not because you want to, but because you feel - in retrospect - like the situation between the both of you put you there.

And this is precisely why I am trying to lend a helping hand; or give you some ideas for how to get out of this wicked non-linear feedback loop.

Again, I know you care otherwise you wouldn't do it. And I know anything I say probably wont change the fact of how you feel about your grandfather (i presume you love him). But I can give you some suggestions for what psychoanalysis has discovered about 'how to get out' of these sorts of positive feedbacks with pathologically disturbed people.

First, I think, your grandfather wants to be seen. The thing about all of us - senile or not - is that we want to feel good; and feeling bad can become painful. When you respond - or fail to recognize - that someone is feeling bad (such as in the therapeutic dyad) and you don't speak about it in a metacogntive way, for example, to say something like "I'm feeling this way, and I think that's happening because you're feeling this way" - it gives words to what is being ignored; makes explicit what has been implicit.

I know, I might be naive in saying this, because maybe your grandfather has lost too much executive function to recognize. But it's worth a try: it works analytically with people with major dissociative disorders; and I think, if I take the work of a neuroscientist like Jaak Panksepp (Or antonio damsio) if higher level brain areas are catalyzed by lower level brain processes (subcortically), that means a gentle, emotional, and loving manner of relating will be picked up by lower area brain modalities (the vagus and hypothalamus/nucleus accumbens) which would generate an affect and ultimately a better and more constructive way of relating.

Anyways, just trying to give you an idea of what you could do to improve your relationship with your grandfathr - and ultimately to make this more meaningful for you, and more tolerable for your grandpa.



posted on Nov, 10 2014 @ 12:25 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Thank you for your time and help. Reading that put me in a better place about the whole thing.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 03:31 PM
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a reply to: yourmaker

Glad I could help



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 03:31 PM
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a reply to: yourmaker

Glad I could help




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