Moving into assisted living involves many difficult decisions, and separating from a beloved pet is often one of the hardest. Pets offer endless benefits, but they can also be difficult to care for in the later stages of life, especially for those dealing with memory loss. Fortunately, technology may be able to help in this area, as a growing number of companies are designing robotic animals for seniors with dementia.
As a provider of memory care services, Melrose Gardens understands the value that technology can bring to dementia care. In this article, we explore how robotic pets can be beneficial in senior care.
The Benefits of Robotic Pets
Although animal therapy is beneficial for dementia , real animals need to be taken care of, and that’s where robotic pets shine. Just like living, breathing animals, robotic pets can alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress levels for people with dementia – without any of the upkeep. After all, no matter how realistic they seem, robotic pets don’t need to be fed, walked, or taken to the vet.
Despite being so low-maintenance, robotic pets are still complex and can often mimic the real thing. They react to touch, light, heat, and movement, and will answer to whistles or calls. Their interactive nature is what makes robotic pets so different than a simple stuffed toy. For example, the robot PARO vocalizes like a real baby seal.
Along with stress relief and joy, robotic pets can provide cuddly, soothing, and lovable company to seniors with dementia, which can help prevent loneliness. It’s also safe to leave them unattended, and they don’t have to go home at the end of the day. Despite these benefits, it’s important that robotic pets aren’t used as a substitute for interaction with other people.
Robotic pets show a lot of promise in dementia care. It’s possible that they may become an acceptable substitute for live animals with all the same benefits as animal therapy, which is known to reduce depression, lower blood pressure, and even speed up healing from illness.
It's worth noting that robotic pets often cost thousands of dollars, especially for the most realistic and interactive options. Luckily, they’re slowly becoming more affordable as demand grows, making them more accessible for families and senior care communities.
Melrose Gardens is a senior living community in Los Angeles providing memory care services. We’re proud of our beautiful, welcoming space, and we’d love to give you a tour. If you’re looking for memory care in the Los Angeles area for yourself or a loved one, contact us today to learn more.