The team at Wicksteed Court Care Home in Kettering have introduced a robotic cat for residents, to help enhance their care through the use of innovative new technology.

Residents at Wicksteed Court Care Home love their new robotic cat, which has been affectionately named ‘William’. Residents enjoy stroking and cuddling the cat, while relatives appreciate the calming effect William has had on their loved ones.

Patricia Bridge, Senior Carer at Wicksteed Court said “The introduction of William the robotic cat for our residents has been amazing! Many of our residents previously had pets before they required care so they are all very excited to spend time with William as he brings back fond memories for them. We have noticed our residents have become calmer, less anxious and also more socially engaged and upbeat. William provides our residents with a sense of companionship, enjoyment and for some, a feeling of purpose and responsibility.”

The company behind the robotic cat has won numerous awards for its innovative products designed for people living with dementia. The robotic cat has all the benefits of having a real cat. Key features include, purring and meowing when petted and stroked, moving its head towards its users’ hand, and even going to sleep!

Research on robotic pets

Research has shown that an effective, drug free way to help calm someone who is living with dementia, is to give them a soft toy they can interact with. Furthermore, researchers studying the effects of robotic pets on people living with dementia found:

‘Companion cats enhance the well-being and quality of life of individuals with dementia living in a long-term care facility by providing companionship and interaction with their environment, which helps to reduce anxiety and agitation.’ They also found that ‘introduction of the cat would prompt an overwhelmingly positive response welcoming the cat with a change in posture and effect.’ ‘Upon stimulation of the cat, the participants would have increased acknowledgement, interaction and positive regard towards the cat.’ James Madison University (12.12.2018)

Treatment without drugs

The care team at Wicksteed Court are delighted with the impact the robotic cat has had on their residents, especially as the calming effects have been achieved without the use of any medication.

Sophie Peach, Senior Carer said “Our residents really enjoy spending time with William, petting him and stroking him. It’s brought out a side to them that we’ve never seen before, and some of our residents opened up about stories of the pets they used to have as a child, which they’ve never previously shared with our carers, or even with their relatives! We’ve seen really positive changes in our residents’ behaviour with the assistance of technology and more importantly without the use of any drugs.”

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, added: “William, the robotic cat, is clearly helping the residents of Wicksteed Court and I support anything that improves the wellbeing of people living with dementia.”

To find out more about the impact of robotic pets on residents at Wicksteed Court, please visit the home’s website https://www.micarewcch.co.uk/activity-highlights