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Int J Rehabil Res. 2013 Dec;36(4):375-8. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0b013e3283643d26.

Home care robot for socially supporting the elderly: focus group studies in three European countries to screen user attitudes and requirements.

Author information

  • 1aNational Institute for Medical Rehabilitation bSzent János Hospital cBudapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary dInstitute of Design and Assessment of Technology, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria eCentral Hospital of University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France.


The growing number of elderly individuals presents new challenges for society. Many elderly individuals have physical or cognitive impairments and require support from caregivers. An attempt to overcome the limitations caused by the lack of human caregivers is the inclusion of assistive technology such as socially active robots. The Domeo-project of the Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme of the European Union aims to develop a new companion robotic system that would allow assistance to the elderly. The requirements and attitude of the potential users and caregivers have been assessed in Austria, France and Hungary. The robot functions were demonstrated to the participants. Three focus groups were formed: potential end users, older caregivers and younger caregivers. The discussions were recorded and processed according to six aspects: (i) acceptability and privacy, (ii) pertinence of services, (iii) possible obstacles, (iv) motivation level to use the proposed services, (v) organizational issues and (vi) recommendations. Minor differences were observed between the countries, but there were considerable differences regarding the age of the participants. The younger caregivers want to be assured of the safety of their client and to receive immediate notification in case of an emergency. As for the elderly, the most important aspect is to gain a companion and a physical helper. Many of the recommendations can be taken into consideration during robot development, but some of them are not realistic at present.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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