'Robopets' introduced at care home to tackle loneliness and improve happiness for Bedford residents

  • ITV News Anglia reporter Claire McGlasson went to see the robotic pets in action

A care home has introduced 'robopets' to its residents to help combat loneliness and increase happiness for those living at the home.

Residents of Anjulita Court Care Home in Bedford can stroke, pet and look after the animatronic animals which are designed to provide comfort.

The pets, initially introduced for those living with dementia, were originally designed as a children's toy.

However, research has found that the robotic animals can provide a connection to memories, help improve mood and increase interaction with others for dementia patients.

Isobel enjoys stroking Jess the robotic cat. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The research, conducted by Dr Rebecca Abbott, found the robotic version of animal-assisted intervention (AAIs) work in care homes as they remove the risk of bites, infections and accidents.

The pets stimulated social interactions between residents and staff and between residents and their family.

For some residents of Anjulita Court Care Home, an emotional connection was made with the pets.

Ashley Corbin is a support worker at Anjulita Court Care Home.

She said: “With elderly residents that have dementia, to have that interaction is key. And as the dogs and cats have been brought in, you see them interacting.

"They are talking, which then sparks a conversation, which then sparks another conversation and it’s really, really good.

"Because sometimes you don’t get that with people with dementia, sometimes you don’t get any conversation at all. So I think they’re really, really good.”

Centre manager Ernie Botley said: “A couple of weeks ago, one of our residents was feeling really down, had a bit of an infection and so we placed one of the dogs nearby and she just started smiling, livened up.

"She named the dog after a dog she’d had in years gone by and to see the smiles coming through there, that was really nice.”

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