Robot Seal Helping Dementia Aged Care Residents
AE Smith recently helped Masonic Care Queensland purchase two therapeutic robotic seals to stimulate dementia patients
These are the first therapeutic robotic seals to arrive in Australia. They will allow the documented benefits of animal therapy to be experienced by Masonic Care Queensland residents in Townsville
When Mark Lovelady, General Manager of AE Smith Townsville learned of Masonic Care Queensland’s plan to purchase robotic pet seals, he immediately offered a generous donation on behalf of AE Smith.
“AE Smith has worked within the aged care sector for a long time. We’re very understanding of the needs of dementia patients and it’s great to be able to help Masonic Care Queensland afford their care strategy,” said Mark.
These are the first therapeutic robotic seals to arrive in Australia. They will allow the documented benefits of animal therapy to be experienced by Masonic Care Queensland residents in Townsville. The two purchased baby seals will be part of a research study with James Cook University to understand how they can improve quality of life for residents and caregivers.
The robotic pet has five kinds of sensors: tactile, light, audition, temperature, and posture sensors, with which it can perceive people and its environment. By interaction with people, it responds as if it is alive, moving its head and legs, making sounds, and showing the user’s preferred behaviour.
“It’s pretty incredible technology,” says Mark (pictured above) who attended the seal naming ceremony in Townsville this March. At the event, the first two pet seals were named Sally and George.
The financial support to purchase the therapeutic robots is just one of the initiatives AE Smith has committed to in its continuing efforts to help its aged care customers around Australia.
In 2011, AE Smith took the initiative to commission training to educate all AE Smith Service technicians about dementia, how to effectively communicate within an aged care environment and working safely in an aged care facility.
“Working within aged care is quite different than a normal commercial building HVAC environment,” says Mark Lovelady. “Sometimes when you’re working in a dementia ward, residents can get confused. They may think a technician is their husband, or they’ll try and help out by climbing up a ladder. You need to be very familiar and cognisant of the environment around you.
”Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) Victoria who wrote and delivered the training has confirmed this is the first, and only time a service provider has actively developed aged care training focused on delivering an improved experience for both residents and the service technician.
The training is face-to-face with content focused on developing an understanding of dementia and effective communication with people with dementia.
From pets to people, AE Smith teams around Australia continue to help their aged care customers care for their residents.
Modelled after a baby harp seal, the world’s most therapeutic robot certified by Guinness World Records is covered with soft artificial fur to make people feel comfortable, as if they are touching a real animal.
The robot provides the benefits of animal therapy to people in facilities where live animals present treatment or logistical difficulties.
Reduce patient stress and their caregivers.
Stimulates interaction between patients and caregivers.
Psychological effect on patients, improving their relaxation and motivation.
Improves the socialisation of patients with each other and with caregivers.