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Robotic companions changing lives of dementia residents

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Bolton Clarke Fernhill residents with dementia have welcomed some new family members with the arrival of 10 robotic companion pets funded under Moreton Bay Regional Council’s Local Community Support Grant.

Mayor Peter Flannery said it was a joy to see residents come to life after spending time with their new furry friends, which were purchased using the $2,000 Council grant.

“It’s amazing to see their faces light up with pure joy when they interact these amazing new robotic pet companions,” he said.

“The pets have been developed specially for people with dementia and help people connect with memories and feelings associated with much-loved pets.

“Residents in aged care homes have been some of the most isolated people during COVID-19 due to their high risk, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I’m proud to see Council’s $2 million annual grants program making such a hugely positive impact on the lives of local residents.

“We have a huge array of grants available to community groups, clubs, and organisations each year to help boost change the lives of their members and residents.

“So please jump on Council’s website and see what grants are available to you.”

Fernhill residential manager Anna Ward said she'd already started to see a change in residents since introducing the new robotic pets.

“Our new Fernhill community is already an innovation hub and we’re excited to also be drawing on the latest in research-based dementia care,” she said.

“Research shows positive benefits from interacting with and providing care for pets, including robotic pets.

“Our residents have loved meeting these new companion pets, which have provided opportunities for people to share memories.

“We are especially grateful to Moreton Bay Regional Council and Cr Adam Hain for the difference this is already making supporting wellbeing for residents.”

Councillor Adam Hain (Div 3) said this was the perfect way to highlight Dementia Awareness Month (September) and the upcoming Dementia Action Week (September 20-26).

“I’m so proud to help Bolton Clarke put a smile on the faces of the beautiful men and women who live in their Memory Support Unit,” he said.

“They’ve all had long and full lives, and they still have so much to give. Dementia Awareness Month is a good opportunity to shine a light on these people and make sure they’re not left behind.”