Dementia patient receives gift of lifelike, robotic cat that restored his sense of purpose making him calmer & happier
Dementia is a heartbreaking and debilitating disease for anyone who’s living with it.
But what’s arguably more heartbreaking, is being the caretaker and slowly watching your loved one lose their memory and shrink from the person you once knew, to a person who doesn’t remember you at all.
But there are also beautiful moments to be had during this time – when your loved one shows signs of happiness because something jolts their memory – and for a brief moment in time, you can share a little excitement in watching them enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures again.
This was the case with Cheryl Yates and her father, who is living with dementia, and that “something” that jolted his senses was a Joy For ALL companion cat.
Joy For All is a company that makes robotic, lifelike pets for seniors who are suffering with cognitive issues, such as dementia.
These “pets” called companion cats, provide happiness and a sense of purpose to older adults without all the responsibility that comes with owning a living pet.
And it was the purr-fect gift for Cheryl’s dad who was always a cat lover when she was growing up.
She was even able to buy a companion cat in the same orange and white tabby color her father always loved so much.
What’s unique about Joy For All pets, is that they are interactive. They respond to human touch and voice as they purr, meow, rollover, blink and even head butt you (as all cat owners know and love).
“My dad LOVES this cat so much,” Cheryl wrote in a Facebook post.
“He named his kitty ‘Buddy’ and my dad is so much happier and calmer and this cat brings him so much comfort and companionship.”
Her dad believes it’s a real kitty too, which seems to help him with all the loneliness, confusion and agitation that can come with dementia.
In fact, it’s helped his attitude so much, that even the nurses were blown away by the difference, Cheryl said.
This validates what the Joy For All team has believed all along – that the power of play is relevant at all stages of life.
“To see his face and eyes light up that he has a kitty again was priceless. Made me cry,” Cheryl said as she wrapped up her Facebook post.
So whether it’s a companion cat, music therapy, or other methods that have been known to inspire unbelievable reactions in dementia patients, just keep trying to connect with them.
They might not always know that you’re trying to help, but you’ll know, and sometimes that’s enough for both of you.