Low-cost care robots for Japan's elderly soon

The government plans to extend financial assistance to help firms develop low-cost nursing care robots with a price tag of about 100,000 yen each as a major feature of its growth strategy to be compiled in June, government sources said.

Such robots with limited functions are designed to assist elderly people in daily activities and reduce the burden of nursing care workers.

The government hopes to revise nursing care insurance coverage to include the use of such robots, which could make rental charges as low as several hundred yen per month, the sources added.

Four kinds of nursing care robots are included in the envisaged plan:

- A motorized robot suit that can assist in lifting or moving elderly and otherwise impaired patients so that caretakers do not need to exert as much physical strength.

- An ambulatory robot that can help the elderly and others walk by themselves, even on inclines.

- A portable, self-cleaning robot toilet that can be placed in living rooms or bedrooms to make using the toilet easier for the elderly and others.

- A monitoring robot that can track the movements and whereabouts of dementia patients.

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