Dementia patients frequently become agitated, anxious and frustrated.
Research has shown that an effective, drug free way to soothe and ease a dementia patient is to give them a soft toy they can interact with.
And robotic cats have become an increasingly popular way of providing comfort for someone living with dementia.
The battery-powered cuddly toy purrs, meows and moves. It also responds to touch when it is petted and hugged.
Tameside Rotary became aware of the robotic cats after reading about a scheme started by Rotarians just over the border in Yorkshire at Wakefield. They have been successfully supplying robotic therapy cats to care homes in the area.
The Tameside Rotarians responded to two enquiries from care homes in Greater Manchester
“The cat companions were supplied and following purrfect feedback from the care homes, we decided it’s meow or never and began a project in Tameside,” said Andy Williams.
“The club has now provided more than 20 robotic cats to 20 Tameside care homes supplied. They raised the money through setting up a TextGiving page and with a District grant.
And robotic cats have become an increasingly popular way of providing comfort for someone living with dementia.”
Through raising public awareness of the project, the Tameside Rotarians were able to boost donations to the appeal with a ‘Cat for Christmas’ campaign.
Funds were also provided by selling 10 bird-nesting boxes hand-crafted by one of the Tameside members.
Organiser Andy Williams said that the project was initially set up as something which the Rotary club could do during lockdown.
“Initially, we set out to raise funds to supply 10 robotic cat companions to local residential care homes specialising in supporting residents living with dementia,” he said.
“These life-like and life-size robotic cat companions are recognised for their therapeutic value.
“For those living with dementia, they can improve quality of life by helping to alleviate stress, reduce loneliness and anxiety.
“With very soft fur and built-in sensors, they respond to touch and motion.”