Monthly Archives: January 2015

Paro the Robo-Seal

It might be the cuddliest medical device ever to cause an ethical quandary.paro the robo seal

Five years ago, a Japanese robot manufacturer introduced Paro to the world. Built to resemble a baby harp seal—with a plush coat of antibacterial fur—Paro was hailed in Japan as a pioneer among socially interactive robots, one that would help lift the spirits of millions of elderly adults.

Watch Japanese nursing-home residents interact with Paro, a baby seal pet-therapy robot.

It never quite caught on. “It doesn’t do much other than utter weird sounds like ‘heeee’ or ‘huuuu,'” says Tomoko Iimura, whose adult day-care center in Tsukuba City keeps its Paro in a closet. Continue reading

A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents

Siblings often disagree on the best approach to caring for aging loved ones. Mapping out a plan at the outset together can help. Photo by Oliver Rossi/Getty Images

Caring for an aging parent alone is complicated. When your brothers and sisters are also involved, and when care, medical and financial decisions must be arrived at together as a team, caregiving can become even more complex. Your siblings can be enormously helpful and your best support. But in many families, they can also be a source of stress. No two families are ever alike. Continue reading