Mom always loved animals and babies. Of course real babies were scarce at her assisted living residence, but every few weeks a Pet Therapy service would arrive and bring a variety of animal visitors. She loved her stuffed animals, but when the real ones would come to visit it was a treat.
When it came to babies, I have to admit I was glad that Mom preferred real babies over plastic dolls. If I handed a doll to a resident who wasn’t my Mom, I felt perfectly fine. I thought it was endearing and cute. I just couldn’t get used to seeing my own Mom with a fake baby in her lap. Somehow, it just wasn’t right.
When Mom first moved in to her room on the Memory Care floor, I remember walking around looking at everything in the hallways. They had fake door knockers, door bells, latches and locks hung thoughtfully on the walls. Those things helped some residents who felt fidgety. There were dolls in strollers and small cribs with little pink and blue blankets. Actually, I never saw Mom pay much attention to any of those things.
The visits from Pet Therapy were wonderful and their staff would enter the lobby with dogs, cats, rabbits and birds. It made everyone happy including the staff. Residents would find themselves with kitties in their laps and dogs giving them full face kisses. It never failed to boost moods and make people feel loved.
The photo above makes me smile, as that bird was cute and cooperative. It was much easier than the live parakeet I bought her. I bought all the fancy stuff. A nice cage, a cage cover for night time, food and water dishes and that vitamin lick thing. I had no idea we were also going to need a DustBuster. I’ve never seen such a mess. That bird seemed to intentionally throw seeds and cracked shells at least three feet out in every direction. In short order, we found that birdie a new home.
I recently phoned three nearby assisted living facilities and asked if they had a Pet Therapy service. One did, one was planning for it, and one said they allowed the residents to own pets so they didn’t pay a service to come in.
If your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t live in a residence with a Pet Therapy service, or they live where having a pet isn’t an option, there is now a wonderful solution. Hasbro makes a fake cat that purrs, meows, blinks and responds to petting and hugging. Mom would have loved one of those. It’s called the Joy for All Tabby Cat. This robotic cat allows a person with Alzheimer’s disease to feel useful, nurturing and loving. They are calming without drugs. All you have to provide are the batteries.
These cats ain’t cheap, but the upkeep is definitely easier!