A care home in Shefford is using robotic pets to give comfort to its elderly residents, especially those with dementia.

Oak Manor care home began taking the surprising approach after peer-reviewed studies showed that robotic animals can help alleviate loneliness.

The research found that the pets have further benefits for those living with dementia, including connecting to memories, improving moods, and increasing interactions with surroundings and other people.

Fay Gooch, manager of the care home, said: "We had seen the pets on social media and started to hear about their use and benefits from contacts at other care homes at events.

"As we heard such great things, we decided to research them for ourselves and implement them at Oak Manor.

The Comet: Fay Gooch, manager of Oak Manor, says the robotic animals have completely exceeded our expectations.Fay Gooch, manager of Oak Manor, says the robotic animals have completely exceeded our expectations. (Image: Kaizo)

"Many of our residents living with dementia and Alzheimer’s and we were hopeful the pets would bring them peace and joy.

"They have completely exceeded our expectations and it is clear the pets bring a lot of comfort to our residents.

"We have noticed residents become calmer whilst using the pets in the home.

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"The pets have also encouraged even the quietest of residents to become more sociable and interactive - with both the robotic cats and dogs and each other!"

Cecilia Adamek, deputy care home manager, added: "The pets are comforting to have around.

"From observing the residents, many like to have the cat on their lap to pet, whether that’s when they are chatting amongst friends or in their own room, they are really soothing.

"Many of the residents have had pets throughout the years, so know how much entertainment they provide and the robotic pets are no different.

"The cat, in particular, rolls over for belly scratches, and that always gets a good laugh. They really are a true addition to our home."

Oak Manor are using robotic pets from Ageless Innovations' Joy For All Companion Pets range.