Using robotic or plush animals, which can sometimes be referred to as 'simulated pets', can provide an opportunity for people living with dementia to interact with a 'lifelike' animal that may bring therapeutic benefits.
Simulated pets can be used as part of engagement or leisure activities to support people living with moderate to severe dementia. They may provide comfort and help engage people living with dementia who show signs of social isolation, reduced communication, apathy or agitation.
While simulated pets may not eliminate changes in behaviour, research has shown that they can provide many positive outcomes for the person, including reducing the frequency and severity of those behaviours.
This helpsheet provides information on why it may be appropriate to introduce a simulated pet to a person with dementia, who is likely to benefit, how to introduce a simulated pet to a person with dementia, interaction activities and precautions.