Lancashire County Council has handed 20 robotic cats and dogs to care homes, saying they will help tackle loneliness and isolation and provide companionship for those with dementia.
The council raised more than £1,800 with the Lancashire 50+ Assembly, which represents people in the county aged 50 and over. The robopets react to being petted and make realistic noises, but do not require any care except for battery changes.
“Keeping pets is really important for many people and they miss having a dog or cat around when they move to a care home,” said Councillor Joan Burrows, the council’s champion for older people.
“These robopets 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.”
The first batch of robopets was handed over at the Lancashire 50+ Assembly’s annual general meeting and civic reception on 8 October. “Robotic pets have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, promote social interaction, facilitate emotional expression, and improve both mood and speech fluency,” wrote the assembly’s chair Patricia Hesketh Sullivan, launching the appeal in June.
The assembly is aiming to raise money for more robo-pets that can be used in Lancashire’s 430 care homes.
Image from Lancashire County Council