Robotic dog helps de­men­tia suf­fer­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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)

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Ron Gran­tham, aged 99, in­ter­acts with Bis­cuit, the robotic dog.

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