Meet Bella, a digital pet caring for the elderly with purrs and companionship
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Patricia Richards, who is 64 years old and lives in Salem, Massachusetts, looks forward to her daily chats with her cat Bella.
“I love Bella very, very much. She’s helpful ... she does a lot of things for me and I‘m so happy she’s in my house,” said Richards.
Except Bella isn’t like most animals. As well as being able to talk, Bella checks if Patricia has taken her medication, plays the rock ‘n’ roll music she likes and reassures her when she is feeling anxious.
Because Bella is a digital pet that exists on a tablet. She was created by Care Coach, a social enterprise that is competing with traditional models of care for the elderly in terms of cost, flexibility and resources.
As companies providing state-funded care work to deliver services with sometimes dwindling finances, technology is offering a way to balance challenging budgets.