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Cost-Benefit Analysis of Robot Pets in Long-Term Care Facilities


In the quest for innovative resident care solutions within budget constraints, evaluating the cost-benefit analysis of robot pets in long-term care facilities is crucial. Can the integration of robot pets truly offer administrators a compelling proposition with regard to positive financial and therapeutic impacts?

We seek the answer in this article that delves into the nuanced cost-benefit analysis of incorporating robot pets, providing insights to aid administrators in navigating financial and therapeutic considerations effectively.

Therapeutic Benefits

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Robot Pets in Long-Term Care Facilities

The therapeutic benefits of robot pets extend beyond mere companionship, encompassing a multifaceted approach to enhancing the well-being of residents in long-term care facilities. Beyond mitigating feelings of loneliness and depression, robot pets have demonstrated efficacy in stimulating cognitive function among residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have shown that engaging with robot pets can trigger memories, promote reminiscence therapy, and improve overall cognitive abilities, thereby contributing to the preservation of cognitive function over time.

The therapeutic benefits of robot pets even extend to the mental health, emotional, and psychological realms, offering residents a sense of purpose and responsibility. By caring for and interacting with robot pets, residents experience a renewed sense of agency and empowerment, which can be particularly transformative for individuals who may feel marginalized or disempowered in a long-term care setting.

This sense of companionship and responsibility fosters a positive emotional connection between residents and their robotic counterparts, providing a source of comfort and stability in an otherwise unfamiliar environment.

From a cost-benefit perspective, the therapeutic benefits of robot pets translate into tangible long-term savings for long-term care facilities. By addressing the emotional and psychological needs of residents, robot pets contribute to the overall reduction of behavioral symptoms such as agitation, aggression, and withdrawal, which often necessitate costly interventions and medications.

An added effect to this is that the improved quality of life experienced by residents through regular interaction with robot pets can lead to decreased staff turnover rates, lower rates of burnout, and ultimately, enhanced staff satisfaction and retention.

Financial Considerations

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Robot Pets in Long-Term Care Facilities

While the initial investment in acquiring robot pets may appear significant, it is essential to recognize the long-term cost savings and operational efficiencies associated with their integration into facility operations.


Although the initial investment in live animal programs may be lower than acquiring robot pets, the long-term maintenance costs can be substantial. Live animals require ongoing expenses such as food, veterinary care, and training, which can accumulate over time. Additionally, unexpected healthcare costs or emergencies can further inflate the total cost of ownership for live animal programs. In contrast, robot pets offer a more predictable cost structure with minimal ongoing maintenance expenses, making them a financially prudent choice in the long run.

The battery life of robot pets is another crucial factor contributing to their low maintenance needs. Most robot pets are equipped with rechargeable batteries that can last for several hours or even days on a single charge, depending on usage. This extended battery life minimizes the need for frequent charging, reducing downtime and ensuring continuous operation for residents’ enjoyment.

Additionally, some models feature advanced power-saving features and automatic shut-off functions to conserve battery life when not in use, further optimizing energy efficiency and reducing maintenance demands.


Unlike live animal programs, which may be limited by factors such as space, resources, and regulatory requirements, robot pets offer a highly scalable solution that can adapt to the evolving needs of the facility. Administrators can easily introduce additional robot pets as the resident population grows or as demand for their use increases, without incurring substantial additional costs.

The scalability of robot pets is facilitated by their compact size and flexibility in deployment. Unlike live animals, which require dedicated space, feeding areas, and housing accommodations, robot pets can be placed in various locations throughout the facility, including resident rooms, common areas, and therapy rooms. This versatility allows administrators to maximize the utilization of available space without the need for costly renovations or expansions.

Comparison with Traditional Methods

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Robot Pets in Long-Term Care Facilities

While live animal programs have been tried and tested, it also comes with inherent costs that otherwise could be avoided or reduced by using robot pets.


In contrast to live animal programs and other similar traditional methods, robot pets provide long-term care facilities with a highly customizable solution tailored to meet the diverse needs and preferences of residents. This customization capability is particularly beneficial in addressing the individualized therapeutic goals and preferences of residents with varying cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities.

One significant advantage of robot pets is their programmable nature, allowing administrators to adjust their behavior, responses, and interactions to align with specific therapeutic objectives. For example, administrators can customize the robot pet’s sensory stimuli, such as touch, sound, and movement, to accommodate residents’ sensory preferences and sensitivities. Additionally, robot pets can be programmed to provide personalized prompts, reminders, or activities to support residents’ cognitive function and engagement.

The customizable features of robot pets can even extend to their appearance, allowing administrators to select models and designs that resonate with residents’ interests and preferences. Whether resembling dogs, cats, or other animals, robot pets can be customized to evoke positive emotional responses and foster a sense of familiarity and comfort among residents. This customization aspect is particularly beneficial for residents who have had positive experiences with specific types of animals or who have cultural or personal preferences regarding pet ownership.

In relation to this, the flexibility of robot pets in adapting to individual resident needs enhances their effectiveness as therapeutic tools. Administrators can tailor the intensity, duration, and frequency of interactions with robot pets based on residents’ preferences, cognitive abilities, and therapeutic goals. This personalized approach ensures that residents receive the maximum therapeutic benefit from their interactions with robot pets, optimizing their overall well-being and quality of life.

Safety and Liability

Robot pets present a compelling solution to mitigate safety and liability concerns commonly associated with live animal programs in long-term care facilities. Unlike live animals, robot pets eliminate the risks of injuries, accidents, and health hazards while offering comparable therapeutic benefits. This inherent safety advantage translates into significant cost benefits for facilities in various ways.

Firstly, robot pets eliminate the risk of physical harm to residents and staff that may arise from interactions with live animals. Robot pets are specifically designed to simulate the appearance, sounds, and movements of real animals without the associated risks of bites, scratches, or falls. This reduces the likelihood of accidents and injuries, particularly among residents with mobility limitations or cognitive impairments. As a result, long-term care facilities can avoid potential liabilities related to medical expenses, insurance claims, or legal disputes stemming from incidents involving live animals.

Robot pets may also mitigate health and hygiene risks by eliminating exposure to allergens, diseases, and parasites associated with live animals. Residents and staff with allergies to animal dander, fur, or saliva can interact safely with robot pets without the risk of triggering allergic reactions or respiratory issues.

Since robot pets do not carry infectious diseases or parasites, this reduces the potential for illness or transmission of pathogens among residents. Thus, the need for healthcare interventions, medication, or quarantine measures results in cost savings for facilities.

Moreover, the programmable nature of robot pets allows administrators to implement safety protocols and restrictions to further minimize risks. For example, administrators can set boundaries or limitations on robot-pet interactions to prevent accidental injuries or mishaps. Additionally, robot pets can be equipped with sensors and safety features to detect and avoid obstacles or hazards in their environment, further enhancing resident safety.


Accessibility encompasses not only the physical availability of resources but also factors such as ease of implementation, adaptability to diverse resident needs, and cost-effectiveness. Live animal programs may be limited by factors such as availability, space, and regulatory requirements, making them less accessible or scalable for some facilities.

In contrast, robot pets can be easily implemented and expanded to accommodate changing needs without significant logistical challenges. This accessibility makes robot pets a more flexible and sustainable option for long-term care facilities seeking to integrate animal-assisted therapy into their programs.

Final Note

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Robot Pets in Long-Term Care Facilities

In the ever-evolving landscape of long-term care facilities, the integration of robot pets in long-term care facilities presents a compelling cost-benefit proposition for administrators and decision-makers. By offering therapeutic benefits such as reduced loneliness, improved mood, and increased socialization among residents, robot pets contribute to enhancing the overall quality of life in these settings.

While the initial investment and maintenance costs may seem daunting, the long-term financial savings and scalability of robot pets make them a viable and cost-effective solution for addressing the diverse needs of residents.

Linda Takahashi

American-born New Yorker Linda Johnson has been fascinated with robotic machines since she was a teenager, when her father, a surgeon, would introduce to her the machines that he used to perform keyhole surgeries. This interest led her to pursue a tech degree at the University of Washington, where she met Sota Takahashi. They married and now have two children. Linda’s father developed dementia later on and was given a robot pet as a companion. She saw how much having a robot pet friend helped her father, which is what led her to create this website and advocate to spread word about robot pets and how they can help both children and the elderly.

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