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Animatronic Pets

In the “What will they think of next” column, place life-like cats and

dogs - mechanical pets being distributed by the Michigan Elder Justice

Initiative’s Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. The

faux felines and canines are meant to provide comfort to seniors in

nursing homes and adult foster homes, to combat the additional social

isolation and loneliness brought on by COVID-19.


Facilities participating in the program will focus on residents living with

dementia and those with cognitive decline, because they are deemed

most apt to embrace a pet.


“I love the idea that the dog is interactive and talks back and that the

cat purrs and, depending on which sensory spot you pet, it rolls over,”

says Salli Pung, the Michigan State long-term care ombudsman.


“That interaction has got to help people make a real connection and

feel like they have a companion there. Relationships are what are so

important to everyone in life, to feel needed and wanted. I think that is

what these pets can offer.”



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