Robotic Companion Pets Offer Comfort, Increased Engagement for Elderly During COVID-19

By  //  April 29, 2020

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interactive pets help combat social isolation and depression among older individuals

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs is delivering more than 375 therapeutic robotic pets to socially isolated seniors and adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia. (Department of Elder Affairs image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Florida Department of Elder Affairs is delivering more than 375 therapeutic robotic pets to socially isolated seniors and adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia.

The interactive pets help combat social isolation and depression among older individuals and people living with ADRD by improving overall mood and quality of life.

Family caregivers may experience a reduction in stress, and caregivers benefit when companion pets allow increased engagement with the older adult and their environment.

“Under the leadership and guidance of Governor Ron DeSantis, we remain committed to serving the needs of older adults and their families,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom.

“We know social isolation disproportionately affects older adults, and COVID-19 has required people with dementia and their caregivers to remain alone for extended periods of time. We look forward to delivering these therapeutic robotic pets to those who will benefit from their companionship.”

The interactive pets help combat social isolation and depression among older individuals and people living with ADRD by improving overall mood and quality of life. (Department of Elder Affairs image)

The robotic pets offer an alternative to traditional pet therapy, and research shows they have similar positive effects. They are designed to respond to motion, touch, and sound.

Robotic cats and dogs are usually given to people with ADRD, but data has shown that using pets to decrease social isolation for older adults is highly successful.

“Independent clinical research has validated that Joy for All Companion Pets promotes and enhances meaningful interactions among older adults, their caregivers, and family members,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation, Ted Fischer.

“We are thrilled to work alongside the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to ensure that hundreds of our aging loved ones can continue to find comfort, companionship, and joy with our interactive pets in this time of physical absence.”

Prudom said he hopes these companion robotic pets may help calm individuals living with ADRD and provide some respite for their caregivers.

“In addition, we are pleased to expand the use of robotic pets to isolated older adults,” said Prudom.

“Our participation in this innovative program will help many older adults improve their daily mood and give them a greater sense of well-being because of the companionship provided by the interactive pets.”

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