The Effects of Robotic Companion Animals on Depression and Loneliness in Older Adults with Dementia During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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J Holistic Nurses. 2021 Dec. 10: 8980101211064605. doi: 10.1177 / 08980101211064605. Online before printing.

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Differences in depression and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic for older adults with mild to moderate dementia living in homes after interacting with a robot dog or companion cat were examined. The experiences of family members and professional caregivers were also examined. Draft: This study used a mixed research design with before and after questionnaires on depression and loneliness. Method: Quantitative data examining the effects of pets on depression and loneliness were collected from participants prior to the intervention and at 3- and 6-week intervals. During the six-week study period, qualitative data was collected that enables researchers to study the effects of robotic pets on participants, family members, and professional caregivers. Results: The results showed that depression (χ2F (2) = 21.29, p Conclusions: Robotic companion therapy for pets, a holistic, non-pharmacological animal-assisted therapy (AAT), changed the AAT landscape at the study site and offered an alternative option to live pet therapy during COVID-19. Participants’ interactions with their robotic pets improved their wellbeing and quality of life, especially during severe COVID-19 restrictions and social isolation.

PMID:34889146 | DOI:10.1177 / 08980101211064605


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