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'Robocats' are a purr-fect way to help dementia patients at a Wisbech care home



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Film buffs may have heard of ‘Robocop’ – but residents at a Fenland care home will soon be meeting ‘Robocat’ thanks to a fundraising effort.

Christine Calver with the comic that she has created using words from residents of Rose Lodge..left to right Marie Youngman, Christine Calver and Michael Austwick. (8052890)
Christine Calver with the comic that she has created using words from residents of Rose Lodge..left to right Marie Youngman, Christine Calver and Michael Austwick. (8052890)

Rose Lodge in Walton Road, Wisbech, has been raising money to buy two interactive ‘robot’ cats to help bring a bit of extra comfort for its residents with dementia.

Chrissie Calver, the home’s activity assistant, undertook a 24-hour ‘comicathon’, creating a 24-page comic book using random words given to her by the residents as script ideas, to raise money for the ‘pets’.

The home’s manager, Megan Jones, explained the idea was to raise enough money to buy two of the specialist cats that help provide sensory stimulation for people with dementia.

Christine Calver with the comic that she has created using words from residents of Rose Lodge. (8052885)
Christine Calver with the comic that she has created using words from residents of Rose Lodge. (8052885)

Megan said: “To be honest I was a bit dubious about them to start with – but we got a dog version a little while ago and it has gone down a storm with residents, who have named it Rosa.

“The cats purr, meow and lick their paws just like the real thing and they are very popular in care homes in America. I don’t know whether any others have them locally.”

The home caters for up to 27 people in its Memory Lane Community, which is for those living with dementia.

Megan said: “It has been well-documented about the comfort live pets bring to dementia patients, but they are not always suitable to have in a home like ours.

Christine Calver with the comic that she has created using words from residents of Rose Lodge. (8052884)
Christine Calver with the comic that she has created using words from residents of Rose Lodge. (8052884)

“These interactive pets mean we don’t have to worry about people being allergic or if one of the residents decides to throw it across the floor, or treat it a bit too roughly –and, of course, we don’t have to worry about feeding them or toilet training.”

Chrissie completed the ‘comicathon’ cheered on by residents and their families last week. She was not allowed to do any prep work and had to complete the comic within the 24 hours.

She said: “Taking part in this challenge was a huge amount of fun and everyone at the home has been behind me all the way. It’s for such an important cause. I’m very glad to be able to do my bit to raise further awareness and money.”

Chrissie raised a grand total of £310 by completing the challenge.

Megan added: “We aim to buy two cats with the money raised, but we may buy more in the future. It just depends on what our residents want, but I predict the two cats will be popular.

“Pets seem to provide a link to people’s memories and give them not only a source of comfort but also something to talk about, which is wonderful.”

Rose Lodge care home is run by Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, and provides residential care, nursing care and dementia care for 60 residents – from respite care to long-term stays.

If you want to learn more about the robotic cats visit this website, which shows the impact they have had on residents in a home in America: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0aC9gUMm1g



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