Students to gift companionship to local seniors< More Stories
Second-year AHT students comprise three Student-Led Clinic (SLC) teams: Public Relations, Retail and Marketing, and Clinic Organization. They all shared the responsibility of organizing fundraising events, including bake sales and more, to purchase two cats and one dog from the ‘Joy for All’ companion pet company, at a cost of approximately $200 each.
The robot-like animals were created to provide an interactive pet for seniors living alone or with dementia. The pets can help calm anxious patients or stimulate conversation between residents. The interactive companions feel and act like live animals. They include built-in sensors that respond to motion and touch, a lifelike coat, authentic sounds and more.
“I’ve taken dogs into Vermilion Valley Lodge to visit with residents. The impact it had on their day was indescribable. It gave lots of residents a purpose to their day. I think these companion animals will do the same. The animals being available 24/7 to the residents will increase their quality of life, especially those living the assisted living wings of the lodge,” says Brittney Sperling, assistant team leader of Public Relations.
Archer adds, “My interests include animal behaviour and welfare, and the bond between humans and animals. It’s a great feeling when I can help strengthen relationships. This is one of the most significant projects I was a part of.”
The companion animals will be offered to the senior facilities in Vermilion as the SLC students established relationships with the Vermilion Valley lodge and the Alice Keith nursing home through senior enrichment visits. The students hope they can be presented to them once the facilities are open to the public.
Photos: (All) Animal health technology students bring dogs for an enrichment visits with Vermilion seniors.