While therapy animals have played a valued role in aged care settings for
some time, an increasingly common sight within seniors communities are
robotic pets.

Residents living in the Carinity Fairfield Grange aged care community in
Townsville have access to companion pets, life-like therapeutic toys which
have realistic fur and sound and move like real animals.

The electronic dogs and cats respond to hugging and petting and users
can even feel the vibration of a cat purring and the ‘heartbeat’ of a dog.

Carinity Fairfield Grange Residential Manager, Mandeep Kaur, said the
technology is “bringing much joy to our residents”.

Research has shown that the devices have physical and psychological
benefits for older seniors, including those living with dementia.

“Just like the use of real-life pets for animal-assisted therapy at Carinity
aged care sites, the robotic companion cats and dogs offer a comforting
presence for residents,” Mandeep explains.

“Studies have shown that these companion pets can enhance the
wellbeing of older people. The robotic animals can help to improve
people’s moods, communication, interaction with others, and can be a
comforting presence.

“Some residents living with dementia who are unresponsive to other
therapies may brighten up, pat and talk to the companion pet.

“Other users will reminiscence about the animals they owned in their
younger years, prompting them to share their own pet stories and happy
Residents living in all 12 of Carinity’s aged care communities across
Queensland have access to the companion pets.