Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Elder Care?

Elder Law | Jun 29, 2023 | Emily A. Martin

As the population of aging Americans expands, many seniors are experiencing difficulty finding caregivers who are able to provide for them. It has been estimated that by 2030, there will be a shortage of 151,000 paid direct care workers. This number is expected to increase to 355,000 by 2040. As for unpaid family caregivers, researchers expect that there will be 11 million by 2040.

One potential way to bridge the gap is artificial intelligence – often referred to as AI. In fact. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized 91 AI- or machine-learning-enabled medical devices in 2022 alone.
Most seniors wish to stay in their home as long as possible. Unfortunately, with the health and memory changes that many seniors face, this is not always realistic. Advancements in robotics and AI may allow seniors to stay in their homes longer by helping seniors complete tasks and remain safe.

Older adults who live alone and people with disabilities can already use Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), also known as Medical Emergency Response Systems. These are wearable devices that allow seniors to call for help by pushing a button. These devices contain a radio transmitter and a console that connects to a telephone. An emergency response center monitors incoming calls. However, there are many more resources available to seniors using AI:

• CarePredict, a device worn on one’s dominant arm, alerts caregivers when it detects a deviation from normal behavioral patterns.
• Envoy at Home allows caregivers to place sensors in a senior’s home that will alert them when their loved one is potentially at risk – such as leaving the home or displaying a long period of inactivity.
• The expanded use of smartphones has allowed seniors to stay at home to receive medical care, along with telehealth appointments and other resources available on the Internet. Seniors can even track their heart activity on their phones and there are apps such as AliveCor that allows users to take a personal EKG test and share results with their cardiologist.
• uses a smartphone camera and AI technology to make medical assessments of urine to look for infection. It also allows users to take photos of their wounds for a digitalized wound assessment, which can track healing and help doctors make recommendations.
• Luminostics is a diagnostic platform that attaches to a smartphone. It can recognize bacteria, viruses, proteins, and hormones from bodily fluids.

These technological developments could also help nursing homes and assisted living facilities accomplish more work with fewer staff members. Below are a few examples:

• Panasonic has developed robotic exoskeletons designed to help aging people perform everyday tasks, get in and out of bed, and sit on chairs or the toilet. The device could help individuals to perform physical tasks without assistance.

• The TUG robot is already assisting in hospitals by delivering medicine, meals, supplies, and tests. This allows nursing staff to spend more time on tasks requiring more education and expertise.
• Paro, a robotic seal, gives patients the benefits of pet therapy in health care settings and dementia wards where bringing live animals would be impractical. These innovations help improve seniors’ mental health and fulfill social needs in an institutional setting.

There are other assistive robots that will soon be available to engage with residents, provide entertainment and interaction, perform tasks, or keep residents safe, including:

• Stevie, a socially assistive robot, was tested at a Washington, D.C., nursing home from 2018 to 2020. Stevie entertained residents by telling jokes, playing bingo, and leading karaoke. This robot also told stories and shared music and could clean the facility with ultraviolet light. Recognizing commands like “help me,” the robot also can alert staff when residents need assistance.
• Pepper is a humanoid robot that can recognize faces and read human emotions.
• Aeo is a robot like Stevie. It can provide social interaction by doing things such as taking selfies with residents, but it performs various essential functions, such as disinfecting surfaces, opening doors, pressing elevator buttons, and alerting staff when a resident has fallen or needs help.
Whether we are ready for it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay and is growing by the minute. Embracing some of this technology could allow seniors to live longer, healthier lives, whether at home or in a facility.


Emily A. Martin

Attorney, Shareholder
757-399-7506 | 252-722-2890
[email protected]

Emily A. Martin is a Shareholder of Hook Law practicing in the areas of elder law, estate and trust administration, estate planning, asset protection planning, litigation and dispute resolution, guardianship and conservatorship, long-term care planning, special needs planning and financial planning. To date, Ms. Martin has overseen over 100 guardianship and conservatorship matters. In addition to being admitted to the Virginia State Bar and North Carolina State Bar, she is licensed to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Martin is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and Regent University School of Law. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Emily worked as an estate planning and elder law attorney in Virginia Beach for several years.

Practice Areas

  • Elder Law
  • Estate & Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Guardianship & Conservatorship
  • Long-Term Care Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Financial Planning
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