According to research, pet therapy has numerous benefits that run the gamut from helping alleviate anxiety and loneliness, to lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, to fostering enhanced social interaction.
"The simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response," a report from UCLA Health reveals. "Humans interacting with animals have found that petting the animal promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin—all hormones that can play a part in elevating moods."
Unfortunately, the practicalities of pet ownership: feeding, grooming, and vet visits—not to mention cleaning up the occasional "Oops!"—all too often limits seniors, especially those in assisted living, from having a fluffy friend to call their own. But now, thanks to a novel breed of robotic puppies and kitties, many seniors are getting a "new leash on life."
The leader of the pack when it comes to robotic companion animals is Joy For All Companion Pets. This line of "adoptable" animatronic fur babies from manufacturer Ageless Innovation was specifically created by a group of former Hasbro toy designers with seniors in mind.
"We have technology that allows you to respond to touch and sound and light in different ways," Ageless Innovation CEO Ted Fischer told CNN. "That's part of the magic of a companion pet."