The Labrador Retriever robot provides additional physical assistance to people as it is capable of moving large objects or keeping smaller items close to an individual. The robot is designed with 3D vision, sensors and navigation, as well as options to schedule tasks like delivering items to a location at a certain time.
Nationwide is sponsoring Labrador’s cross-country pilot tour to continue its research into various use cases. Robots will be placed with individuals and in long-term care facilities, clinical settings and academic settings.
Bobbi Jo Allan, the vice president of innovation leadership at Nationwide, told Digital Insurance that there is a lot happening in the long-term care space and that this partnership will provide more information on how to support people as they age.
“We have been searching for ways to help members maintain independence and help family members who are also helping them,” says Allan. “We know that our relationships with people last 40 to 50 years, and members’ needs will change as they get older. With a company like Labrador, we want to learn how our services and products can help people age in place.”
Many Americans want to age in place or continue to live independently in their homes rather than in a long-term care facility, according to the Nationwide Retirement Institute Long-term Care survey released last November. The survey included responses from 1,812 adults and 706 caregivers. 88% of Americans surveyed said it was important for them to stay at home for long-term care if they need it and that most, 70%, would prefer to rely on family for care but 66% also worry about becoming a burden to family as they get older, according to the survey.
“The pilots we conducted in 2021 confirmed the deep need for a robot that can help with practical activities in the home as the Retriever quickly became a regular part of our users’ daily lives,” said Labrador Systems CEO Mike Dooley, in a statement. “With Nationwide’s support, we are able to expand our pilot programs to work with multiple organizations across the country and allow more people to experience the Retriever firsthand and provide feedback on their individual needs.”
Allan says Nationwide is anticipating the pilot will answer questions like: How do we help caregivers? How do we help individuals who are aging and make it safe for them to age in place? How will the robot be used and what are the outcomes?
“Time will tell and we will be able to learn how we can incorporate the technology and benefit our members,” says Allan. “As we learn, we will see how the solutions will impact people.”