Centennial Place Welcomes a New Kind of Resident

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Photo Karen Graham.

A few weeks ago, Centennial Place introduced six new “residents” to their community. The four cats and two dogs are called Companion pets, and came not from a breeder but from the Hasbro toy manufacturer. Much to the delight of the residents, these “pets” look and feel like real animals and respond (in only positive ways!) to touch and voice. They boast realistic fur and issue pet-like sounds, and respond to petting with predictable, pet-like motions, driven by internal sensors. The items were designed by Hasbro to bring comfort, companionship and fun to an elderly market that has fond memories of pet ownership as well as people of all ages who are not able to address the needs of the live versions.

The pets are being used throughout Centennial Place for pet therapy and in resident intervention situations. Some residents have their own pet, purchased by the resident themselves or family members who believe their loved one would benefit from the soothing interactions these robotic pets provide.

Photo Karen Graham. Robo pet with Centennial Place resident Jean.

With a long history of providing play experiences to children and families, Hasbro has addressed an older market with the launch of this new toy. Known in the medical community as socially assistive robots, these furry companions are used as therapeutic devices for use in elder-care facilities around the world. While any pet lover can find comfort in the sensor-driven interactions these pets provide, evidence suggests that they are particularly effective at soothing those who suffer from dementia.

Staff and residents are pleased with the arrival of these welcome additions to their home and enjoy seeing the positive and joyful experiences they provide to many of their residents. Residents and staff are currently in the process of naming these new pets through contests for residents, families, and staff, and will announce the pets’ names when they have all been selected. With their current level or popularity at the home, more low maintenance residents like these are likely to come in the future.

For more information about this creative device, visit www.joyforall.hasbro.com. KG

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