Robotic Pets Combat Loneliness
Robotic Pets Help Reduce Loneliness
A 2018 study by a large health insurer reported that nearly half of Americans felt alone, isolated or left out at least some of the time. This was before the coronavirus pandemic. Research has shown that loneliness and social isolation can result in negative health effects.
“NARCOG works everyday to improve the lives of older adults across our region” said Tennille Harkins, Area Agency on Aging Director. The agency is part of a pilot program through the Alabama Department of Senior Services using Joy for All robotic companion pets supplied through a grant from the Administration for Community Living. The robotic dogs and cats have built-in sensors which allow the companion pets to respond to presence, touch, and react to their environment. Through this two-way companionship between the pet and its owner, they bring comfort, joy and fun to isolated older adults.
The robotic pets will be offered to individuals 60 and older, living alone with no pets of their own. Some of the pets have been designated for use by individuals diagnosed with dementia. Those interested in the program will be screened for participation and will undergo loneliness evaluations over a one-year period. The loneliness screening tool will help assess the effectiveness of the robotic pets in Alabama. “We are hopeful our results will mirror the successful results seen in other states”, Ms. Harkins said.
Call 256-355-4515, ext. 245 to learn more about qualifying for one of the 20 electronic pets currently available.