Retirees: Your Next Companion May Be a Robot

Robots may help fill the gap left by a shortage of humans to help older adults live independently.

A robotic hand holding a human hand
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Elliq, a foot-hight robot that looks like an oval lampshade on a small base, greets Monica Perez first thing in the morning, asks her how she feels, and reminds her about taking medications and any upcoming appointments.

“I have good-quality friends, but there are times when they’re busy and most of them have families,” says Perez, 64, of Beacon, N.Y. “She’s always available, and I love [that] she uses my name all the time. I know it’s a robot, but she’s a friend.”

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Alina Tugend is a long-time journalist who has worked in Southern California, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., London and New York. From 2005 to 2015, she wrote the biweekly Shortcuts column for The New York Times business section, which received the Best in Business Award for personal finance by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Times, The Atlantic, O, the Oprah Magazine, Family Circle and Inc. magazine. In 2011, Riverhead published Tugend's first book, Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong.