Loneliness and social isolation are an epidemic affecting many aging loved ones as well as their families. Pets have long been a great comfort, but what if you can’t have one?
An estimated 17% of Australians over 65 deal with social isolation, which could be as a result of their geographical location, inadequate health and wellness, or major life adjustment such as loss of a partner and also retirement. Social seclusion as well as isolation are linked to greater threats for hypertension, heart problem, obesity, a weakened body immune system, anxiousness, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s illness, and even death.
Faced with the issue of increasing isolation among the older segment of our population, several companies have developed technologies for older adults, re-imagining just how can boost social interactions and happiness levels by releasing the power of play.
While pets are understood to boost the mood as well as wellness of their owners, the duties and expense of having an animal are commonly not an alternative for older people, especially those impacted by health issues. Robotics may provide a solution.
The robotic pets – cats and puppies – can provide all the usual interactions of a typical pet without having the responsibility of a living pet. Ageless Innovation now runs the brand Joy For All create robotic companions completely focused on the older adult market.
The robotic cats and pups have sensors that allow them to interact with a human companion as they normally would with a pet. They respond to touch, rolls over and utters 32 different types of purring sounds. The pup’s heartbeat slows down if a hand is placed on its back.
“Our purpose is to reimagine how we age positively by unleashing the power of play.” Ted Fischer Co-Founder & CEO, Ageless Innovation said.
Another company, Tombot has used Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (creator of the muppets) to create a more realistic puppy. Tombot comes with a smartphone app that allows you to name your Puppy, customize its functionality, and track your interactions with it on a day to day basis.
Tombot was released in 2017 by Tom Stevens who was motivated by his mother’s battle with dementia as well as her love of her a pet dog golden retriever. The animal was a vital buddy, but as the illness progressed it came to be harder as well as harder to properly take care of it. Stevens started looking for an alternative.
He researched the science of emotional attachment and relationship formation with pet dogs. Seeing exactly how crucial this sort of friendship was for his mom and also others living with dementia, he really felt something like the Tombot could really make a difference and improve her outlook.
Other independent research studies reveal that the robotic companion pets help older adults struggling with anxiety, social isolation, as well as dementia and this has a flow on effect for caretakers and family members. According to one study published by James Madison University, “The use of robotic companion pets enhances the well-being and quality of life of individuals with dementia…Robotic companion pets also reduce the burden placed on caregivers by providing a non-pharmacological intervention for agitation and loneliness.”