In groups of six or seven, patients now have the possibility to make ornaments, flower arrangements, or other crafts on the patio. The program is called “The Sunshine Club” and is conducted by a staff member and a nursing student or volunteer.
“The dog can’t go outside; it’s going to be cold.”
Bob is petting and caring for one of the 3 therapy dogs that were recently purchased, along with 3 therapy cats, by Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) for their patients. Manufactured by Hasbro, these “pets” are in reality robots that were specifically designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. And it does wonders.
“These robotic pets have a tremendous effect on our most anxious patients,” notes Monica Macias, Senior Director of Programs at AFC. “They soothe them and alleviate their anxiety in a way that at times nothing or nobody else can. A few patients like Bob, named their dog and are caring for it like it is real. Others can spend hours with the therapy cat on their lap and seem comforted by it. It is truly beautiful to watch.”
The robots react when they are being petted, turning their heads, moving their paws, or barking and purring.
The purchase of these companions was made possible by the generosity of our donors. They are a great addition to the pet therapy – with real dogs – that is offered on a regular basis to the patients.
Other exciting programs are being implemented this spring, such as meditation and podiatry. IPods were also purchased for our patients to listen to music at their free will.