Ageless Innovation is encouraging New Zealanders to consider the power of play and robotic pet therapy for loved ones who are suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias following promising research findings.
Studies recognised by the American Journal of Medicine have shown robotic pet therapy is effective in improving the quality of life and care for older adults and should be considered as part of an overall treatment plan.
“Independent clinical research has shown that animatronic pets reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, and improve quality of care and life for older adults; reducing agitation, anxiety and use of medication for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” said Ageless Innovation CEO and Co-Founder Ted Fischer.
“While there has been a notable uptick in the purchase of family pets around the world, we have also seen a rise in the purchase of animatronic pets for ageing loved ones, especially those who largely cannot look after animals, but seek comfort and mechanisms to combat loneliness and bring relief.”
“The older adult population is one which could benefit most from the physical and emotional benefits of joy, companionship, and the power of play,” Fischer said.
Four in five New Zealander’s know or have known someone living with dementia. Despite its prevalence, there is no cure for dementia and it costs the New Zealand economy $2.5 billion annually in health and aged care spending, which is set to reach $5.9 billion by 2050.
While emancipatory technology exists for the elderly as instruments of independence to address the hazards of autonomous living (for example, wearable GPS devices to track people with dementia who wander), social robots, such as Ageless Innovation’s Joy for All Companion Pets, attend to the emotional perils of ageing alone.
Fischer acknowledged that there is a need for creative innovations and further research to support New Zealand’s elderly population into the future.
“To ensure we can better support people, we need to accelerate innovation in the aged care sector and translate our ideas into action to deliver better outcomes for now and into the future,” he said.