The Lee-Russell Area Agency of Aging is not only using tele-medicine to comfort their clients with dementia, they’re now using robotic medicine. Leisa Askew with Alabama Cares says they received 10 robotic pets earlier this summer.
The Commissioner of the Department of Senior Services, Jean Brown, pushed for local aging agencies to have robotic pets. Askew says they just ordered almost 20 more with funding from the CARES act. Many of the clients that received a robotic pet attend the REACH program at Auburn United Methodist Church which has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
“A client who has not spoken to where we can understand it in four years got a puppy. The husband put the puppy in her lap and about 30 minutes later she looked down and said the word pretty,” Askew said.
Now although these pets don’t lick your face or jump on you, you can hear their heart beat and they’ll even roll over in your lap.
Emily Meyers says her husband has had dementia for 10 years. She says during Alabama’s Safer at Home Order he’s been able to make a new friend named Purslane.
“People with Dementia tend to clasp their hands often to try to get a grip on themselves I’m convinced, so this allows them to relax a little bit and feel comforted,” Myers said.
The Pets for Dementia program is just a pilot program right now. Based on the data shown from clients’ reaction, it may become permanent.
If your loved one would like a pet you can call (334) 749-5264 for more information on how to qualify for a pet.