Robopets helping to bring 'joy and comfort' to older residents

Robopets East Suffolk Reydon Halesworth

A resident from Glebe House in Hollesley with a robopet. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Robotic cats and dogs are helping to bring comfort to older residents as a new scheme is rolled out across East Suffolk.

With 20 new companion pets being recently purchased by East Suffolk Council, the robotic cats and dogs are helping older residents, especially those living with dementia.

The pets have been given to local dementia groups and care homes across the district, as part of a project that is one of more than 30 in the council’s Covid Community Recovery Plan.

With the realistic 'robopets' - a practical alternative to introducing live animals into a residential home - first piloted at the Memory Lane Group in Felixstowe, they proved such a success that they've now been rolled out across the district.

And as the robotic cats and dogs provide the interactive companionship associated with owning a pet which can be therapeutic for many people, especially those living with dementia, the pilot project has now been rolled out.

A pair of companion pets has been delivered to Admiral Nurse Mindy Mortimer at Sole Bay Health Centre in Reydon.

Supported by Dementia UK, Admiral Nurses provide life-changing support for families affected by dementia.

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Four further robopets have been delivered to Hollesley and Kesgrave, while two pets have also been given to the Pear Tree Centre in Halesworth.

Kevin Vaughan, chief executive of the Pear Tree Fund.

Kevin Vaughan, chief executive of the Pear Tree Fund. - Credit: Pear Tree Fund

Kevin Vaughan, chief executive at the Pear Tree Fund, said: “We would like to thank East Suffolk Council for allowing us to adopt Freckles, our fantastic robodog who is proving incredibly popular with visitors to the Pear Tree Centre.

"He will soon by joined by Tuxedo the cat, who is also being generously loaned to us by the council.

“We have seen some really lovely reactions when people have met Freckles and are delighted by the impact he is having.

"Several of the people we support have even gone onto buy their own robopet after spending time with him so that they can continue to benefit at home."

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, Letitia Smith

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, Letitia Smith - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Letitia Smith, cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism at the council, said: “Companion pets are shown to help improve the wellbeing of older people and those living with dementia, and it is wonderful to hear back from local support groups about the joy and comfort this simple scheme is bringing to people across East Suffolk.”