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Dokumentation Wenn der Roboter nach Oma schaut
Image: Studio Hamburg

Keeping an Eye on Grandma

January 7, 2022

China faces a huge problem when it comes to caring for elderly people. The number of retirees is increasing, while the number of care workers is dropping.

https://p.dw.com/p/45FX8

The country is creating virtual care homes to monitor and help seniors.

Dokumentation Wenn der Roboter nach Oma schaut
Image: Studio Hamburg

A white device with huge eyes announces that it is time for 65-year-old Liu Xiuhua to take her tablets. Liu only got the mini robot a couple of months ago and she is impressed by what it can do. Her little helper listens attentively and keeps an eye on her at home.  The robot can even tell her where she has put the keys to her apartment if she forgets. Will technology help make seniors’ lives easier?

Dokumentation Wenn der Roboter nach Oma schaut
Image: Studio Hamburg

Liu Xiuhua wears a wrist band that measures her blood pressure, heart frequency and body temperature; it also counts her steps and how many hours she has slept. If anything seems out of the ordinary, Liu’s son will be alerted via a smartphone app. The alarm will also be raised if her water or electricity consumption pattern deviates from normal. That data is also sent to Tianjin city authorities where the information is displayed on a huge screen the size of a tennis court. 

Dokumentation Wenn der Roboter nach Oma schaut
Image: Studio Hamburg

In the modern port city and other places across China they are looking at how to improve care for the country’s elderly in the future. Rising life expectations and sinking birth rates mean society is ageing. In the past, children and grandchildren used to look after their older relatives, but now mini robots might take over the job. In its Five-Year Plan, the Chinese Communist Party has pledged to put an end to the loneliness of the elderly and improve their quality of life.


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