Recently I witnessed one of the most heart-warming moments of my Career within the Dementia Community.
I was asked to demonstrate our Robotic Companion Pets, along with other products, at the wonderful Edgcumbe Unit, Mount Gould Hospital in Plymouth, with residents who all suffer from Dementia. Well, what a truly wonderful Unit it is, with such dedicated staff who go above and beyond for their residents.
Staff gathered residents around, cups of teas offered, and so the Demonstration began.
We began to bring out the Robotic Cats and Dogs suddenly the residents' faces changed to intense stares and great interest. The Pets were already switched on, so there was immediate meows and barks, moving heads, tails wagging, purring heard. The residents were given their choice of pets and their reactions were immediate seen (and felt).
Witnessing the residents talking to, stroking, combing their fur, interacting with the pets when the pets responded to them, and with some even asking what their names were, as if they were real, was truly heart-warming. The pets have sensors throughout their body and react to touch, and sound. With the dog, if you talk to it, it turns its head towards you! Wonderful!
Confused and anxious residents calmed down, as their focus started on these wonderful pets. There were true interactions going on, with residents and staff all enjoying the pets. People living with Dementia truly believe these amazing robotic cats and dogs are real, and this doesn't just apply to residents but also people in general. I have been known to speak to the robotic cat if it has been on the sofa at home! It's just something that naturally happens; you are drawn to them and forget they're not alive.
A gentleman at the Unit, I was told, used to have three dogs, and when I gave him the dog to hold he immediately started to react with it. Prior to this he had been sitting quietly, staring at his cup of tea. I asked him about the dogs he used to have and he started to tell me their names, and with a bit of prompting, more information about them. Witnessing him coming to life with the dog was very special.
A lovely lady resident I met at the Edgcumbe Unit was so taken with the cat that she had named him, and wouldn't let him go. Prior to this she had a doll, which she loved, but the cat was something else, and when an order was placed for a Cat for her I left my "Sample" one with her as I couldn't bear to take it away with me at the end of the Demonstration. That's the power of Companion Pets.
After my visit to demonstrate my products there were hugs from staff and smiles from Residents, something you don't witness in your work every day, or even at all. I feel so blessed to bring such joy in to people's lives.
By having these truly amazing robotic companion pets within hospital wards and care homes, you can enjoy "Pet Therapy" every day of the year, and bring Joy and Comfort in to the lives of people living with Dementia.
Much love, Deborah x