January 1, 2022
It’s no secret that pets offer comfort and solace. For some older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, even simulated pets such as robots or toy pets for dementia patients can bring calm and joy.
An ample body of research affirms the mental and physical health benefits of human-animal interaction, whether informally in a pet companion scenario or in more formalized therapeutic settings. Data supports human-animal interaction as a factor in reduced depression, anxiety, and loneliness, along with improvements in cardiovascular health, socialization, and—particularly in the case of dog owners who are more likely to walk their pets—increased physical activity.
The downside is quite simple. Someone has to care for these animals, and not all seniors who benefit from their presence are physically or cognitively able to do so.
More recently, researchers have turned attention to a potential solution with promising results. Robotic therapy pets look like and act like real pets but require little to no upkeep (aside from charging or replacing the batteries, of course). These toy pets for dementia patients don’t require expensive vet bills or cleanup, but they do seem to make a positive impact. Studies have shown improved mood and cognition, while other research points to reductions in stress, anxiety, and even reliance on medications.
If you’re considering a robotic pet for your loved one, we’ve compiled some options for toy pets for dementia patients to help you get started. Our list progresses from simple but snuggly stuffed animals to more sophisticated robotic pets for dementia patients.
Bocchetta Plush Toys: This line’s comfort collection was designed with emotional support in mind. Each of the 10 dogs is lying down, ideal for a place of honor on a senior’s lap or bed. The toy pets for dementia patients and other seniors can be converted to weighted toys for an added sensory calming effect. Smaller versions are available, as is a collection of kittens, many of which are also well suited as lap companions.
Petsies: If your loved one is desperately missing a beloved companion, a stuffed animal in its likeness may be a welcome substitute. While not exact replicas, Petsies are handcrafted to mimic a photograph of their living counterpart as closely as possible. Stuffed versions are available for virtually any kind of pet, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, and more.
Perfect Petzzz: These snuggly pups breathe like a living animal but spend nearly all their time asleep—perfect for someone who would enjoy having a companion curled up on their lap. A variety of popular breeds are offered, including Siberian husky, beagle, black or chocolate lab, border collie, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, chihuahua, cocker spaniel, German shepherd, golden retriever, pug, pit bull, Shih Tzu, toy poodle, and Yorkshire terrier. Several breeds are also available in palm-size versions that emit gentle snores.
Like the canine version, snuggly kittens breathe continuously once activated, and they come curled up and ready for a snuggle or some loving strokes. Choose from black and white, calico, and orange tabby standard-size kittens, each with its own pet bed, collar, and brush. The orange tabby is also available as a palm-size mini.
Joy for All: Created specifically for aging loved ones, this line of interactive dogs and cats is meant to bring comfort and companionship to seniors. Canine options include a cheerful golden pup with a red bandana or freckled friend with a blue kerchief. The pups feature built-in sensors, authentic movement, and sounds in response to your loved one’s voice. A steady “heartbeat” lies beneath the soft fur.
Cat lovers can choose from silver, tuxedo, or orange tabby felines, all with extra-soft fur, lifelike movement, plenty of rewarding meows, and purring that both sounds and feels real.
Tombot: With a wagging tail, lifelike movements, real puppy sounds, and interactive sensors, Jennie is one of the most sophisticated options available. She even responds to voice commands. Tombot, Jennie’s maker, was launched after the CEO had to rehome his mother’s dog as her Alzheimer’s symptoms progressed. Due to popular demand, the manufacturer is currently accepting waitlist reservations.
Our memory care community at Springpoint Living at Manalapan is a place where you can be confident your loved one is safe and secure. Our person-centered approach means we’re continually finding ways to enrich our residents’ lives and bring them joy, whether it’s simulating animal affection with toy pets for dementia patients or exploring other emerging opportunities that make each day as bright as possible. Arrange a visit to meet with our caring staff and learn more about our exclusive memory care program and how we can serve your loved one’s needs.