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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Brisbane seniors buoyed by robotic pets gift from local schoolkids

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Aged care residents at Carinity Hilltop in Brisbane’s Kelvin Grove have had their spirits lifted by generous students from their local high school.

Three life-like electronic pets, which respond to petting and hugging, were presented to grateful seniors by  Kelvin Grove State College students, who determined it would be a nice gesture to show support for older members of their community.

The school raises money each term, via free dress days, to support local community groups and environmental projects.

In Term 1 this year they raised almost $700, which just covered the costs for the three new companion pets for  Carinity Hilltop residents.

Thanks to built-in sensor technology, the robotic companion pets, or ‘therapy pets’, respond to petting and motion, much like living and breathing pets, but don’t require special care or feeding. 

The two-way interaction is designed to help create a personally rich experience and can have a remarkable effect on women and men in the middle and later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. 

“They provide great comfort and joy for older seniors,” Carinity Hilltop diversional therapist Lois Healy told probonoaustralia.com.au’s Luke Michael.

Kelvin Grove student Abbie Duncan told Michael that students believed it was important to give back to the community.

“Our SRC teachers asked for us to come up with some ideas for what we could fundraise for, for our free dress day that was coming up, and we wanted to support something in the local community,” she said. 

“I knew the residents in aged care had been in lockdown and had been doing it tough during COVID, so we thought it would be a good idea to help them by fundraising.”

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