Mechanical pets comfort care home residents

Residents at Brendoncare Alton care home have been enjoying time with mechanical cats and dogs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the home used to receive a weekly visit from Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs into the home to spend time with the residents.

The pets provided sensory stimulation, particularly for residents with dementia who would stroke and talk to the PAT dogs. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these visits had to stop, so the staff decided to purchase mechanical cats and dogs as a substitute for the PAT dogs.

The mechanical pets have been a welcome alternative and some of the residents have become very attached to them.

They cuddle and stroke them and also chat away to them. One resident, Theresa, is so attached to one of the dogs that she goes everywhere with her ‘pet’.

Another resident, John Kitching, is so attached to one of the cats that he is often reciting words from the nursery rhyme, ‘Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been’. He commented, “I find the cat calm and comforting and it provides lots of reassurance in the difficult times we are going through at the moment!”

Claire Stoneman-Merret, activities coordinator supervisor, at Brendoncare Alton, said: “It’s lovely seeing the residents that use the pets, they are always smiling and enjoy conversations with their particular pet. It was hilarious the other day when Theresa, one of our residents, asked her dog ‘what do you want to dinner’, and the dog responded with a bark!”

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