19815 Bay Branch Rd
Andalusia, Alabama 36420
(334) 222-2523
HELPLINE: 1-877-530-0002



SCAMHC is an approved Mental Health site for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program.  Find out the program details and see if you qualify by visiting: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/

SCAMHC is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer and maintains a Drug-Free Workplace.

SCAMHC serves all individuals regardless of inability to pay. Discounts for essential services are offered based on family size and income. For more information, contact (334) 222-2523 or our 24/7 Helpline at 1-877-530-0002.



powered by centersite dot net
Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Reminder Apps on Smartphones May Help in Early DementiaNeurologists' Group Issues Guidance to Families on Controversial Alzheimer's DrugTrial Begins of Nasal Vaccine for Alzheimer's DiseaseAlzheimer's Diagnosis May Come With Big Cost to Social LifeMany People May Be Eating Their Way to DementiaCould Estrogen Help Shield Women's Brains From Alzheimer's?Purrfect Pal: Robotic Cats May Help People With DementiaRight Amount of Sleep May Be Important in Early Alzheimer'sAHA News: Hearing Loss and the Link to DementiaDepression in Early Life May Up Dementia Risk LaterScientists Untangle Why Diabetes Might Raise Alzheimer's RiskTracking Key Protein Helps Predict Outcomes in TBI PatientsMIND Diet May Guard Against Alzheimer'sSigns of Early Alzheimer's May Be Spotted in Brain StemCould Cholesterol Help Drive Alzheimer's Disease?Common Eye Conditions Tied to Higher Risk for DementiaMultigenerational Study Finds Links Between ADHD, Dementia RiskMost Alzheimer's Patients Wouldn't Have Qualified for Controversial Drug's Trial: StudyCould Traffic Noise Raise Your Odds for Dementia?AHA News: What Are Researchers Doing to Stop Dementia?A Mentally Challenging Job Could Help Ward Off DementiaDirty Air, Higher Dementia Risk?An ALS Drug Shows Early Promise Against Alzheimer'sAHA News: Dementia Can Complicate Heart Recovery and TreatmentDeaths From Alzheimer's Far More Common in Rural AmericaCould COVID-19 Accelerate Alzheimer's Symptoms?Dementia Cases Will Nearly Triple Worldwide by 2050: StudyFDA Panel Advisor Who Panned New Alzheimer's Drug Speaks Out'Light Flash' Treatment Might Help Slow Alzheimer'sCleaning Up the Air Could Help Prevent Alzheimer'sLong-Term Outlook for Most With Serious Brain Injury Is Better Than ThoughtDrug Shows Promise in Easing Dementia-Linked PsychosisAHA News: Diabetes and Dementia Risk: Another Good Reason to Keep Blood Sugar in Check1 in 20 Cases of Dementia Occurs in People Under 65Could Menopausal Hormone Therapy Reduce Women's Odds for Dementia?Reading, Puzzles May Delay Alzheimer's by 5 Years: StudyTwo Major Health Systems Won't Administer Controversial New Alzheimer's DrugMost Marriages Survive a Spouse's Brain InjuryMedicare Mulls Coverage for Controversial Alzheimer's DrugFDA Head Asks for Investigation Into Alzheimer's Drug ApprovalNew Prescribing Instructions Tighten Use of Controversial Alzheimer's DrugMissing Teeth, Higher Odds for Dementia?AHA News: Smoking Harms the Brain, Raises Dementia Risk – But Not If You QuitHealthy Living Can Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sKeeping Same Nurse for All Home Health Care May Be Crucial for Dementia PatientsMost Cases of Dementia in U.S. Seniors Go Undiagnosed: StudyLilly to Seek FDA Approval for New Alzheimer's DrugCould a Type of Statin Raise Dementia Risks?Good News, Bad News From Alzheimer's Vaccine TrialPoor Sleep After Head Injury Could Point to Dementia Risk
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

Purrfect Pal: Robotic Cats May Help People With Dementia

HealthDay News
by By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 1st 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, Nov. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- If you have a pet, you know that the excited wag of your dog's tail or the satisfied purr of your cat curling up on your lap can be a mood booster.

But what if that pet is a robot? And what if its owner has dementia?

In a small study, researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that engaging with a robotic pet might help people with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, reducing their stress and dementia-related behaviors without the more complex responsibilities of pet ownership.

"You wouldn't think that a furry little movable cat or dog would really make a difference, but it evokes emotional responses in persons with cognitive impairment who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience something as delightful as just playing with a pet," said study co-author Lisa Wiese. She's an associate professor at the university's College of Nursing.

In the United States, more than 1 in 3 older adults dies with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, for which there is no cure, according to the study. Dementia affects more than 50 million people worldwide.

People with Alzheimer's disease often have behavioral and psychological symptoms, including depression, aggression and anxiety. Medications used to treat these symptoms can have side effects.

For this study, researchers paired robotic cats with 12 individuals with Alzheimer's and related dementias at an adult day center.

Each participant was assigned a robotic cat that they could name. They were told their pets were robots and not live animals. They spent 30 minutes with their pets twice a week for 12 weeks.

The researchers observed study participants smiling and talking to their robotic cats. The pets were designed to respond to actions, purring when petted, for example.

"It appears to the person holding it that they're actually responding to whatever you're saying or doing," Wiese said. "And even though most of the people did remember that it was a robotic pet, they just seem to be enthralled with this and just would engage for the whole entire time that they had the pet."

Below is a video of the robotic cat in action:

The researchers evaluated mood using three different mood and behavior scales. They found participants had improvements in all of the mood scores.

Looking at cognition (thinking skills), researchers found slight to moderate improvement in attention/calculation and language in the post-test of more than half of participants compared to the pre-test.

The researchers also assessed the relationship between the cognition and mood tests, with findings indicating a relationship between positive mood and mental state scores, according to the study.

While improving mood, behaviors and mental acuity, the pets gave the participants an alternative way to express themselves, Wiese said. The improvements in mood and behavior could also translate to improved quality of life for caregivers and family members, she said.

But not everyone would benefit from a robotic pet, said Monica Moreno, senior director of care and support for the Alzheimer's Association. The association was not involved in this study.

In working to engage and interact with someone living with dementia, it's important that whoever is providing care really gets to know the person, said Moreno, especially if they're exhibiting signs of anxiety or frustration.

"What are their likes and dislikes and their preferences? What did they used to do for a living? What's most meaningful to them? What's their routine like? And the reason for that is that you can then start to think about what are some of the interventions that you can use to help reduce those dementia-related behaviors," Moreno said.

If someone with dementia had a pet all their life and was attached to the animal, and a caregiver finds that a robotic cat or dog helps relieve some of the anxiety that person is experiencing, that's a good intervention, Moreno said. It might be different for someone who is allergic to animals or has different past experiences with them.

"We always talk about using non-pharmacological approaches first, before there's any consideration on using medications to help address those dementia-related behaviors," Moreno said.

She noted that the study was small and suggested more research is needed.

People with Alzheimer's disease should always be treated with dignity, respect and recognized as a whole person, regardless of their disease stage, Moreno said. Devices like robotic pets should be used to enhance relationships and not act as a substitute for relationships, she cautioned.

The findings were published online recently in the journal Issues in Mental Health Nursing.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCES: Lisa Wiese, PhD, associate professor, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla.; Monica Moreno, BS, senior director of care and support, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Oct. 13, 2021, online