Amerigroup and Ageless Innovation Distribute Animatronic Companion Pets to Older Adults Living with Cognitive Decline and Social Isolation Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Interactive cats and pups provide comfort and companionship to residents across Tennessee

Francis Watson, Lucy, Doris Cate, Sparky

Amerigroup Tennessee, a leading managed care company dedicated to improving lives and promoting healthier communities, announced a plan to combat the growing concern of social isolation and cognitive decline among older adults in Tennessee through the distribution of animatronic pets. In partnership with award winning robotic pet manufacturer, Ageless Innovation, the interactive cats and dogs will aid in the fight to provide joy and companionship to those that need it most – particularly as communities continue to feel the impacts of COVID-19.

The lifelike Pets, affectionately named Joy for All Companion Pets, are uniquely designed to provide meaningful experiences for older adults and their families. Developed with extensive input from older adults, Joy for All Companion Pets look, sound and feel like real pets – without the responsibilities of pet ownership. Multiple clinical studies have proven that Joy for All Companion Pets enhance the well-being, sense of purpose and quality of life of individuals with dementia; they have also proven to show a significant reduction in agitation, social isolation, depression and expressions of sadness among older adults.   


“Amerigroup Tennessee continues to find innovative ways to support, serve and positively influence some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Chad Pendleton, plan president, Amerigroup Tennessee. “By partnering with nursing facilities across the state, we can provide Joy for All Companion Pets to individuals who may be experiencing challenges with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias. These resources have the ability to reduce anxiety and behavior challenges, improve cognition, along with other health benefits.”

Joy for All Companion Pets will be distributed to a select group of older adults residing in senior living facilities across Tennessee. Recipients will be selected based on the results of an administered survey and on the discretion of the nurses and caregivers at Jefferson Park at Dandridge in Dandridge, Claiborne and Hughes Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Franklin, and American Health Communities in Paris. Residents do not need to be enrolled in Amerigroup to be considered for the program.

“Alongside Amerigroup, our mission is to use play as a tool to help combat some of the many challenges that older adults face today,” said Ted Fischer, CEO and Co-Founder of Ageless Innovation. “The ‘power of play’ should never be underestimated, and it is our hope that these lovable animatronic pups and cats will provide Tennessee residents with the sense of joy and companionship that every person deserves – no matter their age.”


The initial distribution of Joy for All Companion Pets will act as a pilot program with potential to grow as the impact of the Pets are measured among recipients over time.

Those interested in learning more can visit

Francis Watson, Lucy