Dementia is a very difficult disease, not only on those who suffer from it but on the entire family. Cheryl Yates is someone who knows the truth of that statement all too well because her 88-year-old father, Bob, was dealing with the final stages of Lewy body dementia.
Bob had raised nine cats over his lifetime and absolutely loved each and every one of them. He missed his furry companions but he couldn’t leave the hospital. That is when Cheryl came up with a plan along with her family. They purchased a robotic cat for their father from Joy for All, a company owned by Hasbro that has the desire to “bring comfort, companionship, and fun to elder loved ones,” according to their website.
“My father loves cats and dogs, especially cats. He was a real cat man and always had cats,” Cheryl wrote on Facebook. “For Christmas, we bought him a Joy For All robotic lifelike companion cat in his favorite orange and white tabby color. This kitty is amazing, totally interactive, and responds to petting, human touch, and voice. This robotic cat purrs, meows and licks its paws. It rolls over, blinks, and head butts. My dad LOVES this cat so much. He named his kitty Buddy and my dad is so much happier and calmer and this cat brings him so much comfort and companionship.”
When you look at the pictures Cheryl posted on Facebook, you can tell that her father was overjoyed with the gift. People began commenting on the post to send their love to the family and some of them were all too aware of what makes those lifelike robotic pets such a special gift.
“My mother has dementia and she has that cat!” wrote Sylvie Schiller on Yates’ post. “It’s even the same color. She LOVES him! She’s had him for 3 years now and although she has gone downhill, if the nurse puts him on her lap and he starts meowing or purring, her face lights up and she gives out a big smile. I would recommend this cat to anyone in a heartbeat.”
You will pay $99.99 for a Joy for All Companion Pet Cat. They are available in silver with white mitts and black with white mitts as well as orange tabby. You can even buy a robotic dog if your loved one is a dog person.
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There have been many individuals who used robotic therapy pets for help with the symptoms of dementia. That progressive condition affects the motor control and movement of the individual. According to a report from New York Times, one option from Ageless Innovation has been on the market since 2015. It is a lower price than the options from Joy for All.
There is not much research on how robotic pets can help dementia patients, but there are many people who say that their family members have formed a strong bond with robotic pets and it helps to calm them down.
“For a lot of our residents, it’s a chance to be a caregiver, and to be in an active, empowered role again,” Mary Farkas, director of therapeutic activities for the Hebrew Home nursing home at Riverdale in the Bronx, told the New York Times. “A lot of times this disease causes passivity, and we’re always looking for ways to combat that.”
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