Prior-to-request and request behaviors within elderly day care: Implications for developing service robots for use in multiparty settings
The rapidly expanding elderly population in Japan and other industrialized countries has posed an enormous challenge to the systems of healthcare that serve elderly citizens. This study examines naturally occurring interaction within elderly day care in Japan, and discusses the implications for developing robotic systems that can provide service in elderly care contexts. The interaction analysis focuses on prior-to-request and request behaviors involving elderly visitors and caregivers in multiparty settings. In particular, it delineates the ways caregivers’ displays of availability affects elderly visitors’ behavior prior to initiating a request, revealing that visitors observe caregivers prior to initiating a request, and initiation is contingent upon caregivers’ displayed availability. The findings are discussed in relation to our work in designing an autonomous and remote- controlled robotic system that can be employed in elderly day care centers and other service contexts.