"As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the need to nurture, love and be loved increases." American Assoc Geriatric Psychiatrists

Testimonials

Stuffed Animals for Geriatric Patients

Thank you very much for your donation of 6 pets.  We did received them from the Hospital Foundation soon after their arrival. 

After all the staff enjoyed to look at them we have started to include them in our distribution program.  We gave out our first one today and had excellent results.

On a funny note, our social worker was carrying one of the long-haired dogs donated and a hospital administrator came up to see why an unauthorized animal was being brought to the hospital by staff.

The patient who received it enjoyed it very much as well.

Anthony Arslan, DO, CAQGM

Communicate through Memorable Pets

This week's blog takes a look at an article from The Alzheimer's Reading Room, entitled 'Communicating with the Deeply Forgetful'.

The article seeks to explain and break down how people living with later stages of Alzheimer's view the world around them, and in particular, how their reality is much different from the reality that we are used to.

In order to foster a means of helpful communication, the focus of the caregiver should shift to the new reality of a deeply forgetful personthat iswhat they think and believe to be true. This is sometimes difficult, as it often involves "playing" pretend" or placating them in ways that you are not used to, especially when the person you are caring for is someone you hold to a high degree of respect.

"I feel confident when I say thisyou won't be able to convince a person who is deeply forgetful that they are wrong, and you won't be able to convince them that your reality is the true reality." (source

The goal then, is to discover ways to communicate that benefit both the caregiver and a loved one with Alzheimer's.

Memorable Pets invokes the philosophy of traditional pet therapy; that animals can have a calming and positive effect on people with Alzheimer's, particularly when it comes to helping them become more social and more involved with other people.

These stuffed animals, which are especially crafted to be realistic and cuddly alternatives to real dogs and cats, can provide a very special link of communication between a person with Alzheimer's and their caregiver and/or family. They are capable of not only soothing agitation and other kinds of stress, but also of stirring and rekindling old memories by way of a beloved family pet and companion.

Read more: Communicating with the Deeply Forgetful

At Memorable Pets, we are highly dedicated to raising funds for Alzheimer's awareness and research, which is why a portion of the proceeds from each Memorable Pet goes toward Alzheimer's care. You can learn more about our selection of pets and how you can help at our website: memorablepets.com

 

'Baby Doll' brings Joy and Light to the Darkness of Alzheimer's

Our blog entry today is on a narrative by Nancy Wurtzel, public relations professional, creative writer, and owner of the blog Dating Dementia, who relays the story of her mother's gradual decline into the hardships of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 85.

In her later stages after diagnosis, Wurtzel's mother, once highly social and outgoing, began to withdraw from the world and stopped attempting meaningful interactions or conversations. In her earlier stages, she began hoarding containers of old food and became obsessed with winning games like bingo or cards—often sulking like a child when she lost.

As her mother continued to withdraw and her years grew shorter and her world became smaller, Nancy turned to doll therapy, and hesitantly bought a soft-bodied realistic doll for her mother, hoping it would bring some comfort to her.

The effect was amazing. Upon giving her mother the doll, Nancy could tell she was instantly fascinated. Her mother and 'Baby Doll', as they called the doll, became inseparable. Caring for and interacting with Baby Doll gave Nancy's mother a new sense of purpose, companionship, and joy.

When Nancy's mother passed away in Nancy's own home under hospice care, Baby Doll was with her, cradled under her chin.

Read more: Baby doll brings comfort during the Alzheimer's journey

Doll therapy is similar in concept to using stuffed animals for comfort and healing, in the way that Memorable Pets does. Realistic and soft plush animals can give Alzheimer's and dementia patients a new purpose in caring for something, and create a strong bond between patient and pet that can last for the remainder of a loved one's life.

At Memorable Pets, we are highly dedicated to raising funds for Alzheimer's awareness and research, which is why a portion of the proceeds from each Memorable Pet goes toward Alzheimer's care. You can learn more about our selection of pets and how you can help at our website: memorablepets.com

Hilarity for Charity Grants for Alzheimer's Care

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen, along with his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, have dedicated a charity known as Hilarity for Charity to helping families receive free Alzheimer's care for their loved ones. Hilarity for Charity has partnered with Home Instead Senior Care—an organization built around providing in-home care to Alzheimer's patients within the U.S. and Canada.

The charity's care grants have already provided 6,000 hours of free care to more than 130 families, and the organization is still accepting applications for grants, which range from 25 hours of short-term care to long-term care.

To apply for a grant from Hilarity for Charity, please visit Help for Alzheimer's Families.

Read more: Comedian’s charity provides grants for Alzheimer’s care

At Memorable Pets, we are highly dedicated to raising funds for Alzheimer's awareness and research, which is why a portion of the proceeds from each Memorable Pet goes toward Alzheimer's care. You can learn more about our selection of pets and how you can help at our website: memorablepets.com

Alzheimer's Disease Devastating Kentucky and Indiana

As a Kentucky-based company, we at Memorable Pets feel it is especially important to shed light on issues taking place in our area, and in this case, it is particularly disheartening to learn that the death rate for Alzheimer's in both Kentucky and Indiana has risen by over 70 percent since the year 2000. In addition, many Americans are not even being told they have the disease.

This new report comes from the Alzheimer's Association—according to the 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, Kentucky suffered from 1,462 Alzheimer's-related deaths in 2012, while Indiana suffered 2,104. The Association estimates that around 68,000 Kentucky seniors and 110,000 Indiana seniors currently have the disease.

An analysis in the report also shows that less than half of Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer's disease are being told by their doctors about the diagnosis, while the disclosure rates for breast cancer and prostate cancer are 96 percent and 92 percent, respectively.

DeeAnna Esslinger, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association's Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter, says that the poor disclosure rate for Alzheimer's may be due to the stigma that's commonly associated with the disease, as well as some physicians being ill-equipped to talk about an Alzheimer's diagnosis with patients and their families.

Esslinger says the lack of effective treatments and no cure for Alzheimer's may also explain doctors' hesitance to reveal a diagnosis. However, she encourages people who think they are experiencing symptoms, or those who are concerned for a loved one, to be assertive and persistent. "Go to the doctor and ask the questions and keep asking the questions until you are satisfied that you have the appropriate answer."

Read more: Alzheimer's disease takes toll in Ky. and Ind.

At Memorable Pets, we are highly dedicated to raising funds for Alzheimer's awareness and research, which is why a portion of the proceeds from each Memorable Pet goes toward Alzheimer's care. You can learn more about our selection of pets and how you can help at our website: memorablepets.com

Best Friends Day Center in Lexington, KY Looks for Male Volunteers

 Photo by Tom Eblen

Three decades ago, the Best Friends Day Center in Lexington, KY began creating a new approach to caregiving for people with Alzheimer's and dementia called the "Best Friends Approach", which is now an internationally recognized care model that has been implemented in over 30 countries.

Virginia Bell began the Best Friends program in 1984, and has co-authored several books on the subject of Alzheimer's therapy, and at 92 years old, continues to be an energetic force behind the Best Friends initiative.

The center says they are always looking for volunteers to spend time with residents (volunteers' ages range from high school students to those in their 80s and 90s), however, they are particularly looking for men, who comprise only 18 of the center's 88 current volunteers.

Bell says that male volunteers are especially helpful to male participants, who are sometimes disinterested in the center's arts and crafts sessions, and enjoy rather talking about sports and their careers or military service.

Read more: Tom Eblen: Center needs volunteers to help with therapy for Alzheimer's patients

Minnesota Nursing Home Treats Problem Behavior without Antipsychotics

Marian Grunwald, Earl Elfstrom and Verna Matheson (left to right) bounced a balloon back and forth with nursing assistant Rick Pavlisich on Dec. 13, 2013 at an Ecumen nursing home in Chisago City, Minn. Photo Credit: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paulvia NPR

Activity staffer Jessica Abbott, of Pathstone Living, a nursing home and memory care facility in Mankato, MN, is responsible for making sure patients at Pathstone have easy and natural access to activities that are both soothing and mentally stimulating.

Small comforts like making apple crisp while listening to music help calm patients and give them something relaxing and meaningful to do. These planned activities have also allowed Pathstone to reduce the number of patients taking antipsychotics--drugs the FDA says can increase the risk of death for people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

With their unique program called Awakenings, Pathstone was able to reduce its antipsychotic drug use among patients by 97 percent within one year.

Shelley Matthes, a registered nurse working for the nonprofit Ecumen, which runs Pathstone, says the changes in Pathstone's residents were as dramatic as the antipsychotic reduction itself.

"'They started interacting,' recalls Matthes, 'and people who hadn't been speaking were speaking. They came alive and awakened.'" (source)

Read more: This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs