Anyone who’s welcomed a dog or cat into their life knows the relaxing comfort of petting the soft fur or listening to the rhythm of a deep purr. Others with cherished memories of caring for their children and grandchildren find similar happiness in holding and speaking to an infant.
It’s these experiences that make a life-like Comfort Companion such a cherished gift for local seniors in Long-term Care who are experiencing stress and loneliness.
“As you can imagine, it’s really challenging for Long-term Care residents who are isolated and not able to see friends and family as often. It can be a very anxiety-provoking and lonely time,” says Sarah Bragg, President and CEO of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital & Healthcare Foundation.
The Long-term Care staff have seen significant improvements with the use of Comfort Companions – life-like robotic dolls designed to look and feel like a cat, puppy or infant doll.
The robotic cats, pups and baby dolls move like real beings, making sounds and responding to touch. The sensory stimulation these interactive companions evoke can bring joy, reduce loneliness and enhance the quality of life.
“The dolls are weighted like a real baby and the cats purr and raise their legs to be petted – they can definitely give our Long-term Care residents a sense of well-being,” Bragg says.
For residents who are used to having animals in their lives, the cats and pups can help fill that void. For others, the dolls bring comforting memories of their own children and grandchildren.
However, the increased cleaning protocols due to COVID mean it’s difficult to share the comfort pets and dolls between residents; and staff would like each resident to have their own, to avoid having to limit their time with their favourite.
It’s with that in mind that the Foundation launched a holiday campaign, to bring a Comfort Companion to each resident in Long-term Care, Bragg says.
Make a difference in the life of a senior today – and everyday
The campaign aims to provide a Comfort Companion to each of the more than 145 residents in the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Long-term Care Unit.
“This really is giving close to home,” Bragg says. “You know exactly where your donation is going and it will make a real difference and brighten the life of a local senior.
“We are ever-grateful for the generosity and support of our donors. The need is great and people never cease to amaze us with their generosity.”
A donation of $250 will purchase a Comfort Companion for one of SPH’s Long-term Care residents. Donors can choose to purchase a pup, cat or an infant doll, or to offer a general donation for whichever companion is needed most. Smaller donations are also welcome and much appreciated at sphf.ca/support-the-saanich-peninsula-hospital
This holiday season, you can make a big difference to local seniors. Learn more at sphf.ca/comfort-companion