Comparison of assistance preferences of older adults with different functional dependence levels on domestic tasks performed by robots

Linda Yin king Lee, Chun kit Yeung, Chun wa Choi, Man nga Leung, Shing yan Lui, Wing yi Tam, Ka yi Tang, Chun san Wong, Yuen shan Wong, Cheuk yi Yau, Tik ling Yeung, Joseph Kok long Lee, Debby Lee kuen Chui

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Background: Robots have the potential to assist older adults in their home-based daily living tasks. Previous studies indicated that older adults generally accept robot assistance. However, the preferences of older adults with different functional dependence levels are lacking. These older adults encounter varying levels of difficulty in daily living and may have distinct preferences for robot assistance. This study aimed to describe and compare the preferences for robot assistance on domestic tasks in older adults with different functional dependence levels. Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study recruited a convenience sample of 385 older adults in Hong Kong. They were categorized as independent, partially dependent, and dependent using the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living. Their preferences for robot assistance on a list of 48 domestic tasks under six categories were assessed through the Assistance Preference Checklist. Differences in preferences between the three groups were compared using one-way ANOVA test. Results: Findings revealed the differences and similarities in preferences between participants with different dependence levels. In most domestic tasks under the personal care category, dependent and partially dependent older adults reported a significantly lower preferences for human assistance or a higher preferences for robot assistance (p < 0.001), compared with the independent ones. The effect size varied from medium to large (eta squared = 0.07 to 0.52). However, participants, regardless of functional dependence levels, preferred human to assist in some domestic tasks under the health and leisure activities category and preferred robot to assist in most of the domestic tasks under the chores, information management, and manipulating objects category. Conclusions: Older adults with different levels of functional dependence exhibit different preferences for robotic assistance. To effectively use robots and assist older adults as they age, the specific preferences of older adults must be considered before designing and introducing robots in domestic care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Assistance
  • Domestic tasks
  • Functional dependence level
  • Robot


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