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Dementia is one of the most common causes of disability in elderly people.
Research shows that about a third of people above the age of 85 have some form of dementia, and it can be incredibly debilitating both for the patients and the carers. Because dementia can cause behavioral and social changes, you’ll find a lot of people who live with it have been admitted to nursing homes or special care facilities. While this helps prevent any unwanted or negative interactions with others, it can be lonely.
Animals have played a large part in therapy for people with mental or cognitive disabilities. The use of animal-assisted therapy has been around since the 1700s. But having animals visit nursing homes to accompany residents living with dementia is fairly new.
Even newer is using advanced technology to provide robotic alternatives to live animals. In this guide, we talk about how robotic pets may benefit people living with dementia and the best products to buy for this purpose.
Ageless Innovation’s Joy For All line focuses on providing a stress-free pet alternative for older adults. That’s why our pick for the best animatronic fur friend is none other than the Joy For All Orange Tabby Cat – the same cat we named the Best Robotic Cat Companion in our full guide.
The Orange Tabby Cat is designed with advanced technology that allows it to move and sound exactly like real cats. This time, you’re not just getting a plastic toy that moves its head or gives a weak meow. Instead, its soothing presence and quick responses can help patients who are in social isolation, which gives it almost the same benefits as a live animal.
When it comes to robotic pets, the first thing people think of is usually a robotic dog. After all, they are man’s best friend. But…
Chongker is a companion pet company that specializes in handmade plushies. While not a robotic pet per se, we’re..
The first robotic dog on our list is none other than Theo, the Therapy Dog from ROYLCO. This one takes it up a notch…
Next on our list of robotic pets for those living with Alzheimers is the Perfect Petzzz Kitten, an adorable little tuxedo…
If you think a robotic pet only means cats or dogs, think again. There are so many live animals one could have as pets…
Another contender from Joy For All is their cute Freckled Pup. This ginger pup has all the incredible social features…
If your elderly loved one was once a cat owner, then they will love the Joy For All Silver Cat. Covered in soft long fur…
Alzheimer’s can be incredibly challenging to manage. Often, one type of therapy alone is not enough to provide significant…
When someone is anxious, one thing that can help calm them down is a hug. Because a carer may not be present 24/7…
Sensory stimulation for adults with dementia can help reduce agitation in their daily life. Examples of these activities…
Dementia is defined as the degradation of cognitive functioning (remembering, thinking, logical reasoning). There are two different types of dementia: Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. The most common is Alzheimer’s.
Late-stage dementia is where you’ll find symptoms like increased agitation, which is characterized by constant rambling, pacing, and upset outbursts. Therapy and medication can help with these symptoms, and many care facilities have employed both real animals and robotic animals.
Robotic pets have been shown to have positive effects on the mental wellbeing of people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Similar to live animals used in animal therapy, robotic pets have a number of benefits, including reduced stress, improved physical mobility, and reduced feelings of isolation.
This means that robotic pets may be used in lieu of real animals in animal-assisted therapy for many individuals with Alzheimer’s, where a live animal may cause additional stress to the owners or to the animals themselves. Patients may forget things like feeding their pet, cleaning out the litter box, or taking their pets out for a walk. On the other hand, robotic pets require almost no responsibility.
Robotic pets help Alzheimer’s patients in a number of ways, physically and mentally. They offer companionship through social interaction in situations where human exchange may not be a good idea. Robotic pets can also improve memory recall and cognitive function in people with dementia. However, since research is relatively new, it is quite limited – but small-scale projects that focus on easing the emotional burdens of residents have thus far proven to be positive.
Robots – be they pets, robotic cats, or educational interactive machines, have been found to have positive benefits for individuals with dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s, who may experience high agitation.
Dr. Sandra Peterson, a senior health consultant at Pegasus Senior Living, authored a study that showed a robotic baby seal pet (PARO) helped in reducing feelings of stress and the use of psychoactive medications in those living with dementia. So, even though the data is still limited, the benefits of robotic animals on those with Alzheimer’s are well-documented.
With that, let’s get into our top 10 picks for the best robotic pets that can give companionship to your loved one living with dementia. Each robotic pet is able to interact in ways that stimulate positive feelings from our elderly loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Let’s take a look!
|Joy For All Orange Tabby Cat||• Realistic appearance |
• Great for all ages
• Highly interactive
|Chongker Handmade Realistic Stuffed Ragdoll Cat||• Unique handmade toy |
• Looks like a real cat
• Provides companionship
|ROYLCO Theo the Therapy Dog||• Weighted plush |
• Eases anxiety and stress
• Relaxing aroma
|Perfect Petzzz Kitten||• Cuddly soft kitten |
• Comes with cute accessories
• Realistic heartbeat feature
|Tipmant Cute Electronic Bird||• Responds to human voice |
• Melodic singing and chirping
• No maintenance needed
|Joy For All Freckled Pup||• Realistic gestures|
• Fluffy hypoallergenic coat
• Friendly appearance
|Joy For All Silver Cat with White Mitts||• Adorable eyes |
• True-to-life movements modeled after real cats
• Provides comfort and social interaction for older adults
|Electronic Hamster by Homily||• Entertaining sound and gesture combinations|
• Small and portable
• Repeats what you say
|Schooled Weighted Plush Animals Sloth||• Cute and memorable appearance |
• Helps provide sensory stimulation to anxious patients
• Weighted plush can ease stress and worry
|WILD BABY Elephant Microwaveable Stuffed Animal||• Comes with a pouch that can be heated or cooled |
• Perfect for all ages
• Helps calm down seniors who are agitated or anxious
When it comes to robotic pets, the first thing people think of is usually a robotic dog. After all, they are man’s best friends. But our top pick for this guide is none other than a robotic cat from Ageless Innovation’s Joy For All pets.
These robotic cats are designed to keep older adults company no matter their living situation. Cats, being independent creatures, are also known to be low-maintenance. That makes them the perfect robotic pets for seniors who may not have enough physical endurance to take care of a live animal.
The Orange Tabby Cat can interact with humans in unique, cat-like ways, such as making Vibrapurr purring sounds when it’s happy and nuzzling up to its owners when they want attention. The Joy For All robotic cat also has a heartbeat that you can feel when you put it close to your chest and hug it tight.
What makes this one realistic is the sensors all over its body that allow it to react to human touch. That way, anyone will feel like they’re petting a real animal.
Chongker is a companion pet company that specializes in handmade plushies. While not a robotic pet per se, we’re completely dazzled at the true-to-life appearance of each of their pets. The Realistic Stuffed Ragdoll Cat is not a robotic cat, but it’s perfect for older adults who just need the comfort of a pet sitting by their side to interact with.
The company also focuses on providing alternatives for those who have experienced the loss of their own pet cat, or those who are too old to keep up with the demands of having a pet, like changing the litterbox and giving food.
Each of the ragdoll cat’s eyes is individually painted and each of the toe beans is made with embroidered fabric. That means no two animals are the same when you buy from Chongker, making the experience all the more personalized.
Unlike a real cat, this one won’t run around, scratch up the couch, or require litter maintenance. Instead, older adults can relax while petting their new furry friend. It even comes with a little comb!
The first robotic dog on our list is none other than Theo, the Therapy Dog from ROYLCO. This one takes it up a notch by providing 2.5lbs of bodyweight so anyone who hugs him feels like they’re hugging a cuddly live animal.
Theo is 18 inches long and covered in soft polyester fabric. In his paws, you’ll find ceramic pellets that keep them weighted, while its tummy houses a small pouch filled with lavender beads that emit a soothing aroma to help your senior loved one relax and unwind.
The pouch can also be used for hot or cold therapy by heating it in a microwave or putting it in the fridge. This feature can help ease feelings of agitation, as heating pads have been shown to relieve tension. Cold temperatures, likewise, can also help patients relax.
Next on our list of robotic pets for those living with Alzheimer’s is the Perfect Petzzz Kitten, an adorable little tuxedo plush that looks and sounds like the real thing. If this animal sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve featured it on our guide to the best robotic pets for the elderly.
Apart from looking and sounding like a real cat, what makes this perfect for seniors with dementia is its hypoallergenic fur that makes it safe for anyone to hug and hold. And while it offers a unique selection of fun interactions, it won’t bite or scratch you.
If you think a robotic pet only means cats or dogs, think again. There are so many live animals one could have as pets, and the same holds true for robotic animals.
The Tipmant Cute Electronic Bird provides a fun sound for those who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even though this bird can’t actually fly, it does offer its soothing presence for your senior loved one to interact with.
The electronic bird also has the ability to respond to the voice of a person. Saying “Hello,” or “How are you?” can elicit a response as if you were talking to a real animal – all you have to do is press a button to activate voice response.
Those with Alzheimer’s may also find plenty of benefits in petting their new furry friend or just being able to watch its colorful body perched peacefully on its branch. Unfortunately, this robotic animal doesn’t have the same fancy technology as the robotic cats or dogs on this list, but that doesn’t make it less of a companion.
Another contender from Joy For All is their cute Freckled Pup. This ginger pup has all the incredible social features that we know and love from other Joy For All pets: a live “heartbeat,” soft pettable fur, and built-in sensors that allow it to answer to touch.
Much like other pets from the brand, the Freckled Pup is designed to help older adults in social isolation cope with feelings of loneliness. Those with Alzheimer’s may find plenty of benefits from a robotic animal like this one. Since each day is different for people who experience late-stage dementia, the pets help them unwind.
What sets the Freckled Pup apart from a weighted plush is its interactive ability. Its sensors placed all over the body allow it to bark, wag its tail, or nuzzle its head against its owners like a real animal. Of course, it also helps that this one has a super friendly appearance, with its huge floppy ears and soft muzzle. Animal lovers who are unable to take care of real animals due to Alzheimer’s will find the Freckled Pup to be a treat.
If your elderly loved one was once a cat owner, then they will love the Joy For All Silver Cat. Covered in soft long fur, the silver tabby makes for a loving companion for anyone struggling with Alzheimer’s and bringing them objects or toys that may spark fond memories can help immensely.
Among the many benefits this animal provides is an ultra-lifelike appearance modeled after a real cat, so your loved one can better recall the positive feelings associated with caring for a real cat.
Other experienced benefits of caring for a robotic feline friend are reduced blood pressure and lessened agitation. The Joy For All Silver Cat also provides warm companionship to those who need it the most, without any added responsibilities like having to give it food or clean up its litter.
Alzheimer’s can be incredibly challenging to manage. Often, one type of therapy alone is not enough to provide significant, long-lasting changes. That’s why psychotherapy is often accompanied by animal-aided therapy, and even with the latter, it’s often recommended to have multiple animals, whether they’re robotic animals or not.
If you’ve already provided your mother or loved one with robotic cats or dogs and have seen positive effects, why not give them other robotic animals on your next visit? The Electronic Hamster by Homily is a talking toy that repeats what you say back to you.
Having someone to talk to – even a stuffed animal – can greatly improve one’s life, and that especially holds true for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The Electronic Hamster not only provides companionship but entertainment, too. It has high amounts of energy and silly reactions that will lighten anyone’s mood. Plus, you won’t have to remember to give it food every now and then, but simply enjoy its visit.
When someone is anxious, one thing that can help calm them down is a hug. Because a carer may not be present 24/7 in nursing homes – whether due to limited staff or social distancing protocols – an alternative like a weighted plush can help ease a resident’s anxious feelings.
The Schooled Weighted Plush Animals provides four types of pets: a bunny, sloth, elephant, and koala. While each one has its advantages, we’re focusing on the adorable Sloth for this review.
It’s covered in soft material that is perfect for hugging and cuddling. Ideal for both children and the elderly, this weighted animal provides tactile and proprioceptive input that can help calm down and ease burdensome feelings that may be hard to manage on one’s own.
Sensory stimulation for adults with dementia can help reduce agitation in their daily life. Examples of these activities are taking the senior for a walk, giving them a hand massage, or bringing a new or unfamiliar object during your next visit.
The WILD BABY Elephant can certainly count as unfamiliar. Instead of bringing a robotic dog, the sight of an elephant will help spark the resident’s interest and provide them with entertainment and relief from anxious feelings. The microwaveable plush gives tactile, auditory, and sensory stimulation through its therapy pouch and lavender scent beads.
The therapy pack is removable and can be heated or cooled. It’s also used to relieve cramps, bruises, and fevers.
|Robot Pet for Dementia||Model Name||Price||Functionality||Quality||Total Rating||Check Price on Amazon|
|Joy For All Orange Tabby Cat||9||9||9||9|
|ROYLCO Theo the Therapy Dog||9||9||8.5||8.8|
|Chongker Handmade Realistic Stuffed Ragdoll Cat||8.5||9||8.5||9|
|Perfect Petzzz Kitten||8||8||8||8.5|
|Tipmant Cute Electronic Bird||8||8.7||8.5||8.4|
|Joy For All Freckled Pup||8||9||8||8.3|
|Joy For All Silver Cat with White Mitts||8||8||8||8|
|Electronic Hamster by Homily||8||8||8||8|
|Schooled Weighted Plush Animals Sloth||8||8||8||8|
|WILD BABY Elephant Microwaveable Stuffed Animal||8||8||8||8|
Finding the right robotic pet needn’t be difficult. With these products, you’ll find plenty of suitable options from cats to elephants, and each one will provide warmth and companionship to anyone living with dementia.
It’s no secret that robotic pets come in all shapes and sizes. They’re also not limited to cats or dogs, but span a wide range of animals. Among the common ones are these eight:
Take a look at our guide to the best robotic pets here.