Seniors isolated in Florida will receive robotic therapy dogs

April 30, 2020

Some senior citizens in Florida who have been isolated due to coronavirus-prompted social distancing measures in the state may soon receive a furry companion — albeit a robotic one.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs on Monday announced that it began delivering nearly 400 — 375 as of this writing — therapeutic robotic pets to “socially isolated seniors and adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD).”

The agency said the dogs can help combat social isolation and depression among older adults and those with ADRD “by improving overall mood and quality of life.”

“Family caregivers may experience a reduction in stress, and caregivers benefit when companion pets allow increased engagement with the older adult and their environment,” it added.

Global pandemic aside, loneliness is not an uncommon problem for middle-aged and older adults. A 2018 survey by the AARP Foundation found that one-third of U.S. adults age 45 and older reported feeling lonely. The foundation said at the time that number will likely increase as the number of aging adults in the country continues to rise. Additionally, more than 20 percent of people 60 or older suffer from a mental or neurological disorder, including dementia, according to a 2017 report from the World Health Organization.

“We know social isolation disproportionately affects older adults, and COVID-19 has required people with dementia and their caregivers to remain alone for extended periods of time,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom, in a statement.

Robotic pets are an alternative to traditional pet therapy, but “research shows they have similar positive effects,” as per the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.

“They are designed to respond to motion, touch, and sound. Robotic cats and dogs are usually given to people with ADRD, but data has shown that using pets to decrease social isolation for older adults is highly successful,” the news release reads.

The robotic dogs were created by Ageless Innovation, a company that develops “fun and engaging” products for older adults.

“We look forward to delivering these therapeutic robotic pets to those who will benefit from their companionship,” added Prudom.

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News