Sheffield man bringing back 'special memories' for care home residents with lifelike robotic cats and dogs

A member of the Sheffield Methodist Circuit has brought ‘normality’ and ‘special memories’ to care home patients in the city after seeing what his grandmother had been through.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 11:40 am

Jonathan Buckley, youth and children's co-ordinator for Sheffield Methodist Circuit, has been relying on the generosity of fellow church-goers to fundraise for something special for care homes in the area.

Jonathan is raising as much money as possible for MHA Care Homes for them to be able to buy some robotic cats and dogs for their residents with dementia as it brings back ‘special memories’.

Jonathan said: “The idea to raise some money for them has come about from both my granny and my wife's gran’s experiences in care homes over the last few months.

A dementia-suffering care home resident with a robotic dog, fundraised by Jonathan

"My granny has been in a care home down near Bognor Regis for a couple of years now.

"They had a Covid outbreak at the start of January, with 19 residents sadly passing away from it within a few days of each other, many in their dementia wing; other residents tested positive for it including my granny, who thankfully seems to have recovered from it.

"I wanted to support Sheffield care homes and raise some money for their staff originally, to get some chocolate and flowers – but then we realised they would appreciate these robotic dogs.”

Jonathan raised over £150 thanks to ‘generosity’ from church-goers, and wanted to do the Sheffield Half Marathon at the end of this month to bolster that amount.

The dogs cost £100 to source - and Jonathan hopes running the Sheffield Half Marathon in September will bolster that amount.

Following its postponement, Jonathan is hoping to pick up the fundraising effort again in summer after seeing how far the funds went to cheering up residents with dementia.

The robotic dogs and cats cost £100 each and look and act like a real-life pet, with lifelike noises to go with it.

One dog has already been bought for a care home in the area, and Jonathan says it helps to bring the dementia sufferers some ‘normality’.

Jonathan said: "I think they have gone down well – the residents have engaged with them as if they are real cats and dogs, and often calms them down and brings them normality.

"It is especially important for those that had cats and dogs at home when they were younger.

"It brings back those special memories from years ago and their childhoods.”