Technology bringing joy to older seniors
Robotic companion pets are a common sight in Carinity’s 12 aged care communities across Queensland.
The life-like therapeutic toys sound and move like real animals and respond to hugging and petting.
They may be electronic devices, but the companion pets bring much joy for older seniors and have physical and psychological benefits for aged care residents, including those living with dementia.
Carinity Hilltop Residential Manager, Ramandeep Gill, says the therapeutic devices enhance the wellbeing of residents and prompts increased social interaction, particularly during periods of increased isolation due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Just like the use of real-life creatures for animal-assisted therapy at Carinity aged care sites, the robotic companion pets offer a comforting presence for aged care residents,” Ramandeep explains.
“Interacting with companion animals can help to improve residents’ health and wellbeing and social interaction, providing opportunities for residents to share stories about the pets they had in their younger years.
“Some residents living with dementia who may be unresponsive to other therapies may brighten up, pat and talk to the companion pet.
“The reactions from these residents have been incredibly positive. The smiles on their faces are priceless.”
Following the donation of three robotic companion animals to Carinity Hilltop by neighbouring Kelvin Grove State College, students had a competition to name two of the companion pets ‘Skye’ and ‘Astro’.
The third companion pet is known as ‘Cuddles’, named by a Carinity Hilltop resident in honour of a pet cat she once owned.