The conversations of life

Animal therapy: robotic pets bring back happy memories for people with dementia


A number of aged care home across Perth are rolling out robotic kittens and puppies that look and sound just like real pets – responding when they’re patted on the head or tickled underneath the chin, making sounds and even rolling over.

The animals are being used by occupational therapist Madelyne Glover (pictured) who has told the ABC that their use can tap into the emotional memory of good times – and even bring back long-term memories.

Of course, they are not a replacement for the real thing – Jason Burton, head of dementia practice and innovation with Alzheimer’s WA, has pointed to a mix of cognitive stimuli, in particular music, as being key to supporting people with dementia.

But as you can see, the residents are certainly loving their company.

Pictured: Toby the dog and cats Marmalade and Chino. Image courtesy of ABC Perth/Gian De Poloni.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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