The rapid development of new technologies has recently raised interest in the use of assistive robots in the care of older people. The success or failure of robots’ implementation is mediated by their acceptance by users. The aim of the study was to answer the question of how both older people and caregivers perceive the possibility of using an assistive robot for nutritional support. Methods:
Opinions of 252 respondents (126 older—aged 65 and above; 126 younger ones—aged below 65) from five European countries were collected using the Users’ Needs, Requirements, and Abilities Questionnaire. Results:
The majority of participants positively assessed the possibility of using a robot to improve the diet of older people by giving advice on healthy eating or monitoring the amount of food consumed by the owner. An age-related difference was observed, as older people less frequently accepted the reminding of meal times or drinking liquids than younger participants. Four key categories related to the robot’s role in the diet of older people were identified: matching the needs, robot’s characteristics, ethical issues and technical/financial issues. Conclusions:
Our preliminary research has shown a positive approach to robots in the context of their nutrition-related aspects. An indication has been made of the need to include older people and other stakeholders in the process of designing these functionalities and modeling human–robot interactions based on communication theories.
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