These adorable cats found their way in an elderly home care in the Bronx for an Animal-Assisted Therapy with a twist.
Dementia and Alzheimer's are mental conditions plaguing our elderly population which usually come with anxiety and agitation especially in the early stage. According to Alzheimer's Association, "Many people with Alzheimer’s and their families find behavioral symptoms the most challenging and distressing aspects of the disease."
Joy For All by Hasbro
In an NY Times report
, the therapists at Memory Care wing in Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx circulated five cats through the room and handed them to the elderly residents with varying degrees of dementia and Alzheimer's.
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With the accompaniment of guitar-playing and singing, the room got an already soothing vibe as the old ladies stroked and petted the cats.
Lou Ann Wyckoff, a 79-year-old former opera singer cuddled and stroked the gray and white cat on her lap. Ms. Whyckoff looked relaxed and pleased as she continued to pet the cat some more.
These cats are not what you think they are. Although they purr and meow, they are actually robotic cats adopted as alternative to Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)
. The battery-operated cats have been one of the therapy pets around to stimulate interaction; decrease loneliness and other behavioral symptoms that come with the mental disorder developed in seniors.
The robotic cats that come with slogan “No litter box. Just love” are products of Hasbro
. The cats have three variants available, orange tabby, creamy white and silver with white mitts.
Hebrew Home currently has 24 of these robotic cats and has plans of acquiring 25 more or even up to 50 more.
It is more practical to have throngs of these low-maintenance robotic pets than the real pets
or else the latter will have to compete with the care-giving time that should've been provided for the elderly.
The therapy provided by these animatronic fur babies are comparable to how stuffed animals sooth people of all ages. We all need that warm fluffy hug during tough times, even at times when we cease to remember the good ones.
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