Baptistcare has been trialling two new technologies, a robotic baby harp seal and an automated rocking chair to assist people living with dementia experience a greater sense of relaxation.
The initial trials were conducted at Baptistcare’s Gracehaven residential facility in Rockingham with a focus on residents in their memory support houses with plans in place to trial both technologies at other Baptistcare facilities in the near future.
Paro is an advanced interactive robot, developed in Japan in 2003 and certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s most therapeutic robot. It delivers the documented benefits of animal therapy in environments where live animals would not be suitable.
While there are many positive benefits to live pets, health and safety issues and the unpredictable nature of pets can often rule this out.
The Paro seal has been found to reduce stress, improve relaxation and motivation by responding to touch and audio signals, stimulating interaction between the person with dementia and their care-givers.
By interaction with people, Paro can learn to behave in a way that the user prefers and responds as if it is alive, moving its head and legs, and making sounds. It is widely used in care settings in Japan and in Europe.
Another technology on trial is the fully-automated Wellness Nordic Relax chair, which combines music, tactile stimulation and a rocking motion to offer a unique and calming multi-sensory experience.
Thomas Woodage, residential care manager at Baptistcare Gracehaven, who supervised the trial, said both pieces of equipment provided a noticeably calming effect on residents with cognitive disorders associated with dementia.
“The trials have been brilliant. Residents responded positively to Paro the seal and liked the way it responded to touch and sounds.”
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