The toy maker Hasbro has just launched the first in a line of lifelike robotic pets, dubbed Joy for All Companion, designed specifically for seniors.
The idea is to provide older adults who may not be able to care for a live pet with a similar experience. The robotic cat, priced at $100 U.S., purrs and will nuzzle the hand of someone who pets it on the cheek and then roll on its back for a belly rub. The cat will go to sleep if not touched for a few minutes but will wake with nearby movement or a gentle pat.
Pet therapy for seniors has been found to lessen depression, provide calm during times of stress and lower rates of heart disease.
Hasbro’s cat is not the first toy designed for seniors; Paro, a robotic seal was created in Japan to help soothe seniors with dementia. However, the cost of more than $7,500, makes it prohibitively expensive for most.
Hasbro has also partnered with Meals on Wheels America in the Spark the Movement campaign, aimed at reducing senior isolation and hunger. To learn more visit: http://joyforall.hasbro.com/en-us .