Are you or do you know a senior that is lonely? Maybe a senior who is considering a pet but doesn’t have the means or desire to take care of one? Then a robotic companion pet might be the ideal solution. Wait…What did you just read? A robotic pet? Yes, and In What Are Robotic Companion Pets for Seniors – What You Need to Know About Them! you’ll find out all about them. Robotic pets for seniors are becoming increasingly popular because they offer great benefits and because they are relatively affordable.
“A dog is a man’s (and woman’s) best friend is a well-known saying. And while owning and interacting with a pet may not be possible for everyone, older adults can still benefit from pets through modern robotics.
While robotic companion pets cannot directly relieve seniors from the loneliness that comes with aging alone, they can love their companionship as well as their unconditional love!
What Is A Robotic Companion Pet?
Robotic Companion Pets are robot pets that have been automated to mimic the movements of real pets.
Robotic Pets are programmed with a complex set of rules that mimic real-life sequences like feeding times and conversations. They can be programmed to move around in a “realistic” manner (i.e., walk, run, hop) and respond to environmental conditions (like when someone rings the doorbell) and have different responses for different tones of voice.
Imagine this…you come home after a day out or a day at work. And who is there to greet you, a faithful pet. But having real pets home alone all day and having to worry about emptying a litter box, making sure they are fed, or having potty mistakes in the house can make owning one overwhelming.
Now imagine coming home to a robot dog or cat that hasn’t had any accidents in the house and one you didn’t need to worry about all day. You can even go on vacation and not worry about getting someone to pet set – even better; you can take your robot pet with you. Yes, the same type of companionship can be yours without the responsibility of taking care of a robotic pet like you do a “real” pet. Did I hear someone say, “No more vet bills!”
Robotic pets aren’t silly or extra additions but rather can be an essential part of making life easier during times that seniors may struggle with. The presence of robotic pets can provide them a level of connection, especially during the day when they would otherwise be alone. They provide their owners with a range of benefits, including companionship, security, and environmental awareness.
When someone reaches a certain age or memory and cognitive abilities aren’t the same as they used to be robotic pets can provide a good substitute for having a real pet. Are you thinking well why not a stuffed animal isn’t that the same? It really isn’t. A robotic animal with its mannerisms and interactions can offer a degree of excitement, engagement, and relaxation that a basic stuffed animal cannot.
Ted Fischer, co-founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation has said, “the two-way interaction helps create a personally rich experience that can bring fun, joy, and friendship to older adults. Fischer added that many people name their robotic pet and form attachments to them. Depending on their cognitive ability some people treat the robot dogs as though they are real puppies; while others understand them to be robotic stuffed animals.
What Does A Robotic Companion Pet Do?
Robotic pets are equipped with sensors that allow them to sense their surroundings and respond to commands. This includes moving around, responding to voice commands, and interacting with humans. Some of the most popular robotic pets include robots that can walk, roll, and climb. They also come with a built-in camera that allows them to take pictures and videos and interact with their surroundings.
What Are Some Benefits Of Owning A Robotic Companion Pet For Seniors?
Robotic companions for seniors can provide a great deal of comfort, companionship, and combat loneliness. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so that they can be tailored specifically to the needs of the senior.
Some of the primary benefits of owning a robotic companion pet for seniors include:
- Enhanced socialization: A robotic companion can help stimulate social interaction of an older adult. This can be a great way to keep isolated seniors engaged and encourage social interaction for better mental health.
- Reduced anxiety: Many older adults suffer from anxiety, and a robotic companion can be a great way to reduce this anxiety.
Robotic Companion Pets and The Therapeutic Setting
Aside from providing companionship and entertainment, robotic pets have other benefits, such as being used in therapeutic settings, providing support and comfort to the senior owner.
Robotic Companion Pets In Nursing Homes and Hospitals
Some doctors recommend robotic pets as means of providing therapy in nursing homes or hospitals. Robotic pets can help keep an aging patient focused on the task at hand. In some cases, they can even distract from pain which may cut down on the need for pain medication, recovery time for elderly patients during surgery sessions, among other possibilities.
According to Dr. Holly Schiff, PsyD., a licensed clinical psychologist at the Jewish Family Services of Greenwich, “The robotic pet brings comfort, companionship, and lowers stress while helping the individual relax and feel calm. While preventing loneliness, it can also reduce depression and improve socialization and communication abilities.”
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Robotic animals are beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia who have varying degrees of mental impairment. They provide companionship, interaction, and positive reinforcement when the person may not always be motivated or able to engage in daily activities. Many individuals with memory disorders report being overwhelmed by loneliness; simply because they can’t form social relationships on their own anymore.
Recent research studied the benefit of introducing interactive robotic cat pets to mild to moderate dementia patients. Each of 12 adult day care patients received their own robotic cat, which they were able to name.
The patients and their cats interacted for 12 sessions in a group setting. The interaction took place four times a week. What was discovered was over half of the patients experienced a slight to moderate increase in attention and language.
In another study, Alacare Home Health & Hospice looked into the effects of robotic pets on their patients. With an amazing outcome, six out of seven patients showed signs of reduced anxiety and increased communication skills.
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Robotic companion pets are perfect for seniors looking for companionship that is both physical and digital. These animals are equipped with built in sensors that allow them to interact with their owners through speech and gesture recognition. They can also provide companionship through remote monitoring and communication.
In addition to providing companionship, robotic companion pets can help seniors with cognitive impairment stay engaged and active. They can also provide entertainment by playing games, watching videos, or engaging in other interactive activities.
Finally, robotic companion pets are an excellent way for seniors to combat loneliness, reduce social isolation and foster a sense of community. They can also act as a support system during times of grief or stress.
While robotic companion pets may not be the perfect solution for seniors who can’t have a pet due to physical limitations, as we found in What Are Robotic Companion Pets For Seniors – Find Out Here! they do provide several benefits.
What are your thoughts on robotic companion pets? Do you think they’ll become even more popular with seniors? Let us know in the comments below!