Come to The Kensington Memory Care neighborhoods for a visit and find residents, family members and team members interacting with dogs and cats on a daily basis. That is not unusual for an assisted living community but what is different is that most of these pets are robotic. With realistic fur and pet-like sounds and sensors that respond to petting and hugs with familiar pet-like actions.
“Companion pets deliver a soothing, joyful experience that inspire smiles, laughter and fond memories for people of all ages.” – Hasbro
Several of these robotic pets were donated by tone of our resident’s nieces to the Memory Care neighborhoods within our senior living community, some were given to a specific resident by a family member, and The Kensington also purchased several for the benefit of all our memory impaired residents, with plans to purchase additional ones very soon.
Even though we have a real cat, Curry, plus weekly visits from other live pets, the robotic pets have suddenly taken over as favorites in our memory care neighborhoods! These mechanical pets are fitted with artificial intelligence software and tactile sensors that allow them to respond to touch and sound.
“With the introduction of these robotic animals, we have seen a decrease in anxiety, increase in interaction with others, decreased behaviors, and more smiles emanating from our cognitively impaired residents.” – Donna Porchi,Memory Care Activity Coordinator
These results are not unusual as one study from Griffith University in Australia has found that interacting with a therapeutic robot companion made people with mid- to late-stage dementia less anxious and also had a positive influence on their quality of life increasing their social behavior and verbal interaction and decreasing feelings of loneliness.
“Our robopets give my residents a sense of comfort. We don’t have to feed, pick up, care for or groom them so they are much easier on team members too.” – Donna Porchi
As per Kensington family members, when asked what they thought of the newly adopted pets, we received nothing but positive responses: “My mother loves the cat. When I come in it’s the first thing I look for to give to her. She loves petting it and hearing it meow”. Another family member stated, “What a great alternative! My mom had a pet all her life, this is such a wonderful thing. She even calls it Baby and that was the name of our cat growing up”.
The Kensington robotic cats and dogs are very life like. They meow and purr, and bark softly. They will raise a paw and make licking motions and roll on their backs, like real kittys. The robotic dogs pant lightly like actual dogs. They also also blink and raise their paws as if to ask for more cuddling moments and our residents are all too happy to oblige them.