Comfort in the form of a HUG
Thanks to innovative sensory technology, residents at Cleveland’s Seaton Place home are finding special comfort in a new cuddly companion, ‘HUG’.
Developed in the UK by health professionals, Cardiff University design researchers, engineers, people with dementia and their carers, ‘HUG’ – which the residents at Seaton Place have fondly named Charlie – has a beating heart within its soft body and can play music via Bluetooth.
Research suggests its use improves resident wellbeing by reducing anxiety, encouraging conversations and providing comfort.
Seaton Place lifestyle coordinator Lisa Pawlenko says the HUG has been a valuable addition to the home’s daily dementia-specific Silver Sunset program.
“We have had amazing results residents with dementia or people who might just need some extra emotional support,” she said.
“I can’t express how wonderful this resource is and how much of a difference it has made to our lovely residents. We have seen immediate results from the warm, cuddly and 100% huggable HUG.”
Resident Carmel said she feels much more comfortable and calmer when Charlie comes to visit.
“I love it, I appreciate the visits from Charlie - I am unable to come out of my room at the moment and Charlie is soft, cuddly and comforting,” she said.
Residents’ family members said Charlie is also making a difference when their loved ones feel anxious.
“What a wonderful idea. It is so lovely for my mum, who suffers from anxiety, to have a cuddle with Charlie – I love the heartbeat, it has reduced her anxiety immediately," Julie said.
UK research found that ‘HUG’ improved the quality of life for 87% of the people who used HUG for six months.
It’s a month of celebrations for seniors starting with International Day of the Older Person on 1 October and ending with National Grandparents Day on 29 October.
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