Developing & Implementing Robotic Pet Interventions for Adults with Dementia

Lisa Benson, Johnson & Wales University - Providence


Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition characterized by physical and cognitive decline, and a major cause of disability and dependency worldwide. Behavioral & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) include agitation, depression, apathy, wandering and terminal restlessness. Robotic Pet Intervention (RPI) is a relatively new treatment which incorporates interactive robotic animals into therapeutic activities. Features include sound, light and touch sensors, on/off/mute settings, and realistic fur. Documented benefits for dementia care include improvements in BPSD, reduced loneliness, improved social interaction, and reduced need for pain medication. Although promising, the potential impacts of RPI on adults with dementia are not fully understood.