The difference Companion Pets are making
Animal lovers know the simple comfort and joy that owning a dog or cat can bring. Unfortunately many seniors living in long-term care are no longer able to care for real animals, nor are care homes ideal places for cats and dogs to live.
To fill the void, a small number of companies have started creating animatronic ‘Companion Pets’ that are specially designed to help reduce anxiety, loneliness and depression for the elderly, especially those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Research using these robotic animals has been really promising too. A 2019 study about Companion Pets for seniors with dementia uncovered three main perceptions for pet recipients:
- ‘It’s like a buddy’ – the robot helps people with dementia uphold a sense of self in the world,
- ‘It’s a conversation piece’ – the animal facilitates social connection, and
- ‘It makes me happy’ – the animal transforms and humanizes the clinical setting.
Since 2020, Eldercare donors have been providing donations so that local seniors in need can receive a Companion Pet of their very own. The impact of these animals has been nothing short of heart-warming.