Robotic dog helps dementia sufferers
BOURNEMOUTH, England: Among Ron Grantham’s happiest memories are the days he spent fly-fishing with his beloved dog, Spot. Now those memories are being revived by visits from his new best friend, Biscuit – a robotic dog.
Grantham, 99 , lives in Templeman House, a British care home, which brought in Biscuit. Staff say dogs – even robotic dogs – can help to elicit memories from residents.
“I found out today that Ron used to go fly-fishing and take the dog across the fields with him while he fished,” said Deanna Barnes, home manager.
“We didn’t know that before. The dog brings out memories that they can reflect on and tell us.”
Biscuit stands about 60cm tall and looks something like a labradoodle. It’s equipped with sensors that allow him to react when a human interacts with it.
Simon Bird, deputy chief executive at Care South, which owns Templeman House and several other care homes in the south of England, said Biscuit was particularly effective at reducing stress and anxiety in residents with dementia.
“He’s a good distraction. He reduces stress levels,” Bird said. “He does stimulate memory and also encourages a lot of social interaction and recollection.” – Reuters/ African News Agency (ANA)
Ron Grantham, aged 99, interacts with Biscuit, the robotic dog.