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Robotic pets bring joy to Salinas senior citizens

Georgie Reed has always had a special place in her heart for cats.

As a child she grew up surrounded by cats. Georgie raised the kittens and often stuffed them in her nightgown to sneak them into her bedroom at bedtime.

Reed now lives at Pacific Coast Post-Acute Nursing Home in Salinas. His room is decorated with photos of his old pets. Although she can’t be with her beloved pets, she and other nursing home residents received the gift of a lifetime.

Nursing home residents in Salinas are gifted new pet robots designed to behave like real-life animals and help them feel less alone.

Residents smiled and cheered as members of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program presented them with 27 robotic cats and dogs.

The room was filled with the sounds of meows and barks as the robot pets wag their tails, vibrate while purring and even make eye contact with their new owners.

Residents gently pet their new puppies and brush their hair. Meanwhile, Georgie was overcome with emotion and hugged her new partner.

Residents chose between dogs or cats as their new robot pets at Pacific Coast Post-Acute Nursing Home in Salinas, California.

“I named her Cleo and thought she was pregnant because her belly was full and she was moving a bit,” she said. “I always wanted to have cats with lots of kittens.”

These fellows are no ordinary creation.

These Joy for All robotic pets from Ageless Innovation are designed to increase engagement and meaningful interactions with seniors.

Nursing home staff hand out robot pets to residents at Pacific Coast Post-Acute Nursing Home in Salinas, California.

Ombudsman Program Manager Elizabeth Campos says the Robotic Pet Project was initiated by the California Department of Aging and the California Ombudsman to reduce social isolation and loneliness in nursing home residents.

“It was very rewarding,” Campos said. “Many times, residents tell us that they used to have a pet when they were at home. Now, they’re not able to have one, but it’s great to see how happy they are now that they have one.”

These robotic pets cost about $170 each, and more than 300 were ordered to be distributed to various nursing homes in Monterey County.

Joanne Getas with the Ombudsman was close to tears as she watched residents interact with their new robot companions.

“We’ve given them to residents who have memory problems or anxiety and it’s been a tremendous help to them,” Getas said. “The residents smile, sing to them, some try to feed them. Some of the residents, it’s the camaraderie they wanted so much and with the pandemic, some of them have been so neglected.”

A nursing home resident strokes the fur of her new robotic pet in Salinas, California.

Staff members said they hope to see positive changes in residents’ moods and behavior thanks to these new pets.

They added that they are happy neighbors who now have something to look forward to every day, as does Georgie who says she will keep Cleo at her bedside.

Robotic pets bring joy to Salinas senior citizens Source link Robotic pets bring joy to Salinas senior citizens

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