Why Companion Pets bring comfort and joy to people living with Dementia 


Those of us that love pets, or who have always had pets, intuitively seem to know that they provide us comfort, company and generally a sense of wellbeing. We tend to talk to them, sit with them, and enjoy interacting with them. 

 

Maybe surprisingly to some, the same feelings seem to be enjoyed in response to interacting with our Companion Pet Cats and Companion Pet Dogs.  

 

Joy for All and Perfect Petzz branded companion pets were developed to provide companionship for people whose living arrangements are not pet-friendly, or in situations where caring for a pet is impractical. They are now enjoyed in a variety of settings by people of all ages, from small children through to the very elderly. 

 

Older lady with Golden Pup companion pet 

Often used to provide a soothing focus and activity for those living with dementia, or for children who find focus a challenge, the predictable responses, realistic vibrating purring, little woofs and responses to petting seems to help people to feel calm and safe. They are also a very welcome comfort to those spending time alone, people grappling with anxiety, agitation, or low mood, or where illness or immobility reduce the opportunities for interaction outside of the home.  


I have heard from some clients that they are a great help to focus on and clear the mind when falling off to sleep. The sound can be muted, and the purring (from the cats) and heartbeat (from the Golden Pup) can still be felt as you drift off to dreamland.


Research has shown that the interaction, motion and sounds from these robotic companion pets lift the spirits and enhance the well-being and quality of life of individuals, providing a focus in their environment which helps to reduce anxiety, agitation and loneliness.  

Companion pet ginger cat

For those that are wondering …. most people are fully aware that the pets are not real, but they laughingly tell us that this does not stop them chatting to their companion pet dog or cat (and they do respond and “talk” back, as each companion pet has sight, sound, and touch sensors), cuddling them and interacting with them. It is quite easy to forget that the cat purring on your lap while you watch TV, or the cute little snores from the pup are not from a real live pet!   

 

Older gentleman with companion pet cat

 

So many people have sent me videos of their loved one “meeting” their pet for the first time and their response to it – enough to melt your heart and convince us all that “Pet Therapy” is truly the way to go. And for me, when I walk into one of our Leef Independent Living Centres in the morning, the companion pets hear and see me enter and I am welcomed by a chorus of “meows” and little happy waggy tailed “woofs”. It always brings a smile to my face.


Maybe try giving one to someone you love and see if you can brighten their day too.  

 

If you would like information about the research on the benefits of our interactive companion pets, please drop me an email to wellbeing@leef.com.au and I would be pleased to help.

Cathie's illustration

  – Cathie