Robotic cats, parrot aid dementia patients at Lincolnshire Manthorpe Centre (UK)

click to enlargeAn engaging item picked up from the P.E.T.S. (Patient Engagement Treatment Services) blog via LinkedIn updates is about the innovative use of robotic pets in dementia therapy at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (LPFT) Manthorpe Centre, which cares for adult patients suffering from dementia. The two robotic kitties appear to be comfort ‘animals’ that move and respond, but the robotic parrot is different. According to occupational therapist Liz Lester at LPFT, who introduced the robotic animals to the ward, Pete the Parrot was developed by a man whose mother had dementia. The lifesize parrot blinks, yawns and responds directly to voice control. The patients react to handling the animals with better moods and respond more positively. Lincolnshire Reporter

Checking on “Pete the Parrot”, this Editor found a series of articles on an Alzheimer’s blog (Reading Room) that reinforces the occupational therapist’s information. The “Pete the Parrot” is a widely available and inexpensive parrot toy which repeats what you say (and flaps wings). These are widely used as helpers for those with short-term memory loss and children with delayed speech (MaxiAids). This Editor would have greatly appreciated this in assisting her mother years ago who responded positively to stuffed animals and music, was verbal until near the end, but could have benefited greatly from a toy like this. Click on various links in the articles for users’ experiences and tips (including videos).

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