The dedicated team at SmartCare know just how in demand care work in Surrey is for the ageing British population, who may need anything from physical assistance, medication dispensers, or simply someone to talk to. But did you know that people who receive care often benefit from interactions with robots and animals? Well, what about both at the same time?
We may not have hoverboards just yet, but the future may be closer than we think in a way we may not have really expected – robotic dogs! A far cry from the robopet toys from the 2000s, these therapy pets have sophisticated sensors that allow them to react to both touch and voice commands so they can aid in care settings.
Research has found that this form of robotic therapy carries similar benefits to live therapy animals, including the reduction of stress and anxiety amongst care home patients. These robot pets have also been found to aid in lifting feelings of loneliness and isolation by encouraging socialising and fostering companionship. There have even been improvements in mood and speech amongst dementia sufferers.
This is one step of many in the right direction towards finding alternative treatments for certain symptoms, allowing less medication to be dispensed for issues like anxiety, and meaning that patients don’t have to deal with as many side effects as they might do otherwise.
Actual therapy animals certainly do still have their place, but these are often limited scheduled visits and robots are available 24/7, meaning they can be used at all times of day without having to worry about routine, temperament, or therapy animals being simply too tired to help. These robotic dogs also do not carry the same maintenance issues and health risks as real animals (hygiene issues, residents with allergies etc) and can be used at all times of day, with no need to worry about temperament.
With so many benefits to speak of, it seems that we may be seeing more of these automated animals in times to come!