Robot moves into Austin assisted living center, serves residents meals amid worker shortage

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are dealing with a staffing crisis.

There just aren’t enough people who want to work in those facilities, so how are the centers filling those positions? With robots.

Longhorn Village, an assisted living facility in Steiner Ranch, is doing just that.

“Total amazement,” said one of the residents. “I didn’t have any forewarning that such a creature was going to be inhabiting our halls.”

It’s not every day you have a robot as a server, but that’s exactly who is serving up hot meals in the dining room.

“Not only is it just cute and a lot of fun, but it is really going to relieve the wait staff and some of their duties,” said another resident.

It even sings Happy Birthday and delivers cake.

“This robot can actually supplement our staff and make them more efficient,” said Deidre Kinsey, CEO of Longhorn Village. “It will take the food from the kitchen. It will be put on the trays then it is brought out to the dining room where a server meets our robot.”

Miko Zhong with Richtech Robotics, the company that designed the robot, said they are filling much-needed positions.

“As we know, the labor shortage is a problem in the US, so driving efficiency becomes a top priority for a lot of businesses,” Zhong said.

Last month, state lawmakers set aside $200 million in grant funding to help pay for staffing needs in nursing homes and $178 million in grant funding for assisted living facilities.

Richtech Robotics tells KXAN they have distributed robots to about 200 locations across the country.

Longhorn Village plans on adding more robots soon.

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