Harnessing the Power of Play in Older Adults

Play has no age limit, and people of all ages and stages of life deserve to have fun and be happy. Play is a basic human need and the power of interactive play can absolutely improve the emotional health and well-being of those in health care settings.

The Pew Research Center conducted studies that prove that, on average, older adults spend more than half of their waking hours alone; loneliness and social isolation have become an epidemic impacting so many: Up to 40% of Americans over age 45 suffer from chronic illnesses.

People who are experiencing social isolation and loneliness are more likely to report having poor physical and/or mental health; they show links to serious health problems such as chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, high blood pressure, and depression; and their chance of premature death increases by 14%.

An estimated 17% of Americans over 65 are isolated because they live alone and face one or more barriers related to geographic location, language or disability, and half of those older adults are considered economically unstable.

Because family and friends are often far away, Ageless Innovation looked to animatronics, robotics and design to help on their mission to enhance the quality of life of older adults and their families. Older adults want interactive, two-way companionship - meaning pets that could give love and receive it. This led to Joy for All Companion Pets creating a robotic pet that works in tandem with caregivers to provide comfort through the experience that replicates real pet ownership and allows caregivers to focus more on the patients' needs. Built in sensors allow the Companion Pets to respond to human presence, and touch and to react to their environment. Robotic pets is a way of offering soothing companionship for patients experiencing loneliness, depression, and/or anxiety.

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