"As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the need to nurture, love and be loved increases." American Assoc Geriatric Psychiatrists
-I bought my step-mom, Betty, a Memorable Pets calico cat. “She has had Cali since December and I can’t begin to tell you what an important part of her life that cat has become. Betty is in assisted living and loves cats. Cali has a special place right next to Betty’s chair but more important, she has a special place in Betty’s heart. Cali is held, stroked and talked to daily. Thank you so much for these life-like animals who enrich the lives of so many.” Diana, Coudersport PA
-“I bought a Memorable Pets dog for my husband who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. His reaction to his memorable pet is certainly positive, he has evenings where he’ll sit with the dog on his lap and caress it. He is always talking to it, like you would a puppy…he will sometimes carry it around as well.” Jeanne, Manchester NH
-“I liked how well the dog was constructed, the softness and how floppy the dog was. I know from my time in a nursing home while my mother in law was there that many of the people with dementia really preferred stuffed animals, especially ones that were soft furred that could be cuddled and stroked. That seemed to sooth them when they felt unsettled, which was my intent when ordering.” Deborah, Greensboro NC
-“We gave our Mother “Douglas” for Christmas. She at first was creeped out by him because he was always looking at her, she did get over that. She would have him sit in her chair with her and she would pet on him and talk to him. Unfortunately, Mom passed away March 2. I do know she grew to love Douglas up until the time she was hospitalized. I have Douglas now, I talk to him about Mom and pet and love on him.” Kris, Memphis TN
-“I bought the Schnauzer for my mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s. We had to bring her dog to live with us when she went to assisted living and she misses him. I gave her the dog on Easter Sunday and she was delighted. Several staff members commented on how much he looked like her dog, Miles, and called him “mini-me.” I am hoping he brings her some comfort as she is agitated quite often. I love the softness of the animal and hair and she loves him so the feedback is great.” Linda, Shreveport LA
-“I love how soft both the body and fur are. It is cuddly and I like that it can be washed. It is comforting just to see it resting on the bed or chair. It has a resting pose similar to that of our actual cat. I had been looking for over a year for a suitable stuffed animal and was so pleased to find this one! Thank you!” Sherry, Lexington KY
-I love this product and wonder why we have not had something like it available long before now! So many times over the years, I have been assisting a person with a memory disorder who could have been very comforted by one of these soft, cuddly and very, very life-like pets. Overwhelming research has shown that pets can be an enormous source of comfort and companionship to older adults. However, many people with moderate to severe memory impairments can no longer own and care for a dog or a cat. Depending on the degree of a person’s memory impairment, a pet like this could be an enormous source of security, comfort and therapeutic activity. I have already told my family that if I develop a memory disorder, I want them to put a Memorable Pet on my lap and have a back up in the closet—preferably a black lab. What a great idea!
Paula M. Taliaferro- Education Consultant, Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging Support Group Facilitator for the Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association since 1995.
-I am a nurse on a secure Alzheimer’s care unit where we use a person-centered care approach with our patients. They respond well to gentle attention and care, and they also show a desire to give love and care. Two years ago, when I first met Betty, I was impressed by her attachment to Caldonia, her Memorable Pet cat. She clearly loves Caldonia and does not like to be separated from her. As a nurse, I became a bit concerned that Betty would become upset if Caldonia became lost, so we called her family and asked for a back-up Caldonia—just in case. Betty has difficulty carrying on a conversation due to dementia, but she understands who Caldonia is when people ask about her and is always ready to show her off. Betty and Caldonia receive a lot of positive attention! If Caldonia is moved from Betty’s bed when someone is helping her get up or get dressed, Betty can become upset if she thinks Caldonia is not being handled with great care. Betty nurtures Caldonia by tucking her in bed with her and caressing her. It is very sweet to watch. Caldonia helps to calm Betty, especially if she is feeling agitated, and she helps to give Betty a nurturing, loving feeling. Their special bond has been a true gift for Betty and for us to watch. Sarah Burdine- RN
-“Your company through comfort care for Alzheimer's is a great opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and change the world one pet at a time!” Kim, RN in Tampa FL for 25 years
-Bettina promotes Memorable Pets at the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatrists Conference in Washington DC! This was her first national conference / trade show. "I was amazed at how much attention our Memorable Pets received. The pets were certainly why people stopped by our table. As I explained how they were used for therapy, security and comfort, I received many confirmations on the concept." One psychiatrist even said to Bettina in a low voice ” we spend so much money on research, but it really things like what you are doing that makes all the difference in people’s lives”. This was very gratifying to hear!
-And the winner is…. The Dog! A Japanese study gave a toy gorilla, tiger and a dog to participants with severe dementia. Hands down, the dog was favored over the other toy pets. More importantly, the study showed a rise in happiness levels and a decline in agitation levels when the participants were with the toy pets, especially the stuffed animal toy dog. The study states that most of the patients were interested in the toy dog after dinner, and they looked much happier and less agitated, although a few fended off from it. The researchers noticed that the patients became accustomed to the toy dog day by day. The toy dog was a useful therapeutic tool for patients with severe dementia. Email me at Bettina@memorablepets.com and I will send you the complete study.
Though many scientific studies use genetically modified mice to replicate what the effects of Alzheimer's disease would be in a human brain, there are several species of animals that naturally develop brain changes that resemble Alzheimer's in humans, namely dogs.
Like people, when dogs age, some develop learning and memory problems, while some remain sharp and as capable of learning as younger dogs. Dogs even have symptoms of cognitive decline that are very similar to those in humans, such as disrupted or irregular sleeping schedules and difficulty recognizing family members and friends.
Elizabeth Head, PH.D, of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, said their lab began studying beagles in the early 1990s due to interest in developing a drug to treat "dog dementia", using observations from pet owners about behavioral changes in their older dogs. Not much was known then about cognitive changes in aging dogs (the study group being beagles over eight years old), and the center's research began with finding ways to record and measure these changes.
Read more: What can beagles teach us about Alzheimer’s disease?
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