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How these robo-pets are bringing joy to Preston care home residents

Posted on - 22nd October, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Health, Preston News
Group shot including robo-pets at a Lancashire County Council reception to celebrate International Day for Older People
The robo-pets attended a Lancashire County Council reception to celebrate International Day for Older People

Robotic pets are being used in three Preston care homes to help tackle loneliness and isolation.

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The ‘robo-pets’ are the perfect companions for people with dementia as they behave like normal cats and dogs – the dogs bark and wag their tail, the cats meow and perform actions like washing their face – but you don’t need to walk them or change their litter tray.

Robo-cats have been placed at Stanley Grange and Bowgreave Rise, while a robo-dog has found a new home at Alston Lodge.

In total there are now 20 robo-pets in homes around the county, after an appeal by Lancashire County Council and Lancashire 50+ Assembly raised more than £1,800.

County Councillor Joan Burrows, champion for older people, said: “Keeping pets is really important for many people and they miss having a dog or cat around when they move to a care home. 

“These robo-pets are fantastic because they look and act like the real thing. The dogs bark when they hear you, the cats purr when you stroke them. 

“They are relaxing and calming and encourage care home residents to socialise as they share memories.” 

Joyce and Arnie share a kiss
Joyce and Arnie share a kiss

Living with loneliness carries the equivalent risk of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

National figures provided by Age Concern show that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month. Around 60 per cent of people in care homes get no visitors at all.

Read more: New ‘What The Flock’ crowdfunder to tackle loneliness in Preston and beyond

County Councillor Burrows said: “Using these robotic pets can encourage people to remember events, bring back fond memories and spend time with others. This helps to ensure people feel less lonely and improve the quality of life of people who live with dementia. 

“Thank you to everyone who has made a donation and to the Lancashire 50+ Assembly for their fundraising appeal.” 

The county council is still looking to raise money so that more care homes across Lancashire can have a robo-pet. 

For information about making a donation or arranging a fundraising activity, email 50+Assembly@lancashire.gov.uk.

Read more: Time to talk about Freda – inside Age Concern’s befriending service

What do you think of the robo-pets? Let us know in the comments below.

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