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Domestic Robots for Homecare: A Technology Acceptance Perspective


In times of the demographic change and the increasing need of novel concepts to meet the requirements of older adults’ care in the near future, health care robots could be a potent solution to meet shortcomings in the health care sector. Even though the potential of robotic home care assistance is promising, the question if older persons would accept a robotic assistance at home is still underexplored. Adopting a three-step procedure, older adults’ perceptions towards home care robots are empirically explored. In a first step, focus groups were accomplished to understand older persons’ perceptions on benefits and barriers. Second, a survey study was applied to determine acceptance criteria, the perceived usefulness and the extent and types of concerns toward a domestic robot in homecare. Finally, in a further survey study, specific care situations in the home care settings had to be evaluated in a third study, thereby comparing preferences for a human care persons vs. a robotic care assistant. Outcomes reveal both, age-sensitive as well as age-insensitive findings. While overall a positive attitude towards home care robots was found, serious concerns in terms of fear of loss of control and connection to family members are prevailing. Outcomes contribute to an understanding of social factors in the development and implementation of accepted home care solutions and might be helpful to develop age-sensitive information and communication concepts.

In: International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population, pp. 57–74