Robotic pets have been handed over to 20 care homes across the county, including some in the Lancaster district.
The 10 robo-cats and 10 robo-dogs have been bought following an appeal by Lancashire County Council and Lancashire 50+ Assembly, which raised more than £1,800.
Robotic pets behave like normal cats and dogs; the dogs bark and wag their tail, the cats meow and perform actions such as washing their face and rolling over for a tummy tickle – but you don’t need to walk them or change their litter tray!
Research has shown that robo-pets can help tackle loneliness and isolation and are the perfect companions for people with dementia.
County Coun Joan Burrows, champion for older people, said: “Keeping pets is really important for many people and they miss having a dog or cat around when they move to a care home.
“These robo-pets are fantastic. They are relaxing and calming and encourage care home residents to socialise as they share memories.
“Using these robotic pets can encourage people to remember events, bring back fond memories and spend time with others. This helps to ensure people feel less lonely and improve the quality of life of people who live with dementia.”
Staff and residents at Barchester’s Laurel Bank care home in Lancaster met their purr-fect new friend last week when Toffee Apple the robo-cat arrived.
Activity coordinator Jamie Hodgson said: “Our residents absolutely love Toffee Apple already –she has a very calming effect, and is great for those who don’t like to get involved in our activities as much because she is always there. Her purr is particularly soothing!”
One resident said: “I love her! She’s so soft and cute, you really do forgot that she’s not a real cat – I find myself chatting away to her, just like I used to with my old cats! Even the staff have taken to her, stroking her whenever they pass!”