AgeSpan was one of 43 agencies honored at the 2022 USAging Innovations and Achievement Awards for innovative programs and initiatives that help older adults.
The national awards highlight success programs and were presented at the USAging 47th Annual Conference and Tradeshow on Monday. AgeSpan’s Robotic Pets Program was recognized with an Achievement Award in the Social Engagement category. The program provides robotic dogs and cats to people with dementia and their family caregivers to bring comfort, companionship and fun.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for our work in combatting social isolation and loneliness for older adults,” said AgeSpan CEO Joan Hatem-Roy. “Our comfort pets program has been so beneficial to individuals and their caregivers. It creates much needed connections and brings so much joy.”
The realistic pets have fur to pet and make pet-like sounds, and each pet is embedded with sensors that respond to petting and hugs with familiar pet-like actions. The pets are calming and soothing while actively engaging the care recipient.
Since the program began in 2017, AgeSpan, formerly known as Elder Services, has distributed more than 250 pets. The pets address isolation, provide companionship and comfort and help keep confusion at bay.
Awards criteria include demonstration of measurable results.
“We applaud our members for their tireless efforts to creatively develop vital services and supports for older adults, as well as their caregivers and people with disabilities in communities nationwide,” said USAging CEO Sandy Markwood.