I have seen first hand the positive responses a dog or cat can provide to lonely seniors. So much more so when that senior has dementia. These animals offer unconditional love and affection. They listen without judgement. They are a friend. I have seen faces light up with delight and normally non-verbal seniors start chattering away.
The downside is that these pets have to be cared for and that care is often beyond the ability of the senior (especially with dementia) and would be an extra burden for a caregiver who’s already got too much to do.
Enter toy maker Hasbro, who has made realistic dog and cat robot pets. They respond and feel like a real animal without any of the usual care needed. I think they’re a brilliant idea and may be just what the doctor ordered!