Stuffed Animals Bring Comfort to Dementia Patients.

Stuffed Animals Bring Comfort to Dementia Patients

I’ve noted that many caregivers of loved ones with dementia use stuffed animals to successfully provide comfort.   Here’s a company that took the idea one step further.
MEMORABLE PETS AIMS TO HELP FAMILIES, PATIENTS DEAL WITH DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S
New Business Creates Stuffed Animals Designed to Soothe Patients and Create Connections with Family

Lexington, KY – (February 22, 2012) In a time where families can often feel helpless in reaching their loved ones a new company, Memorable Pets, has released a line of plush stuffed dogs and cats to bring joy to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and to serve as a connection point for family members.

The company, started by sisters Bettina Dickson Rusher and Frances Dickson, came to fruition after their mother began her battle with Alzheimer’s.  “Our mother had a real cat which she loved, but once the Alzheimer’s set in she was unable to care for it properly, so we bought her a stuffed cat to keep her company,” Rusher said. “We were amazed at the joy the cat brought her and how attached she became. Before we knew it we were producing animals and handing them out to other patients on her floor.”

Memorable Pets are based off the most popular cat and dog breeds and are lap-sized so they are large enough for adults to hold, flexible so they can be easily carried  and soft so they are soothing. Their eyes appear alert to keep patients engaged and a portion of the proceeds from every Memorable Pet sold goes back to fund Alzheimer’s care and research.

“Several studies have shown that interactions with a stuffed animal increase happiness  and provide a calming effect. They’re also a great way to allow patients, who often have to rely on everyone else for care, to be able to care for something themselves,” Dickson said.

Nurse Sarah Burdine noticed a strong attachment between one of her Alzheimer’s patients and Memorable Pets. “The Memorable Pet helped to calm my patient, especially when she was feeling agitated. Their special bond has been a true gift for the patient and for us to watch,” she said.

Aside from soothing the patient, Memorable Pets also provide a connection point for young children and their grandparents who may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. When both the child and grandparent have a similar stuffed animal it gives them something to talk about that is familiar creating a special bond.

The company’s goal is to gain non-profit status for their Pets to People program which allows individuals, organizations and corporate sponsors to purchase a Memorable Pet for someone unknown to them. To participate in the Pets to People program or to order a Memorable Pet, which retails at $29.99 including shipping , visit  www.memorablepets.com.

About Memorable Pets: Memorable Pets was created by two sisters who are passionate about making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. After losing their mother Betty Dickson, who deeply loved her Memorable Pet and held it in her arms when she died from Alzheimer’s disease, the sisters founded the company. Their goals are to provide therapeutic, realistic pets to help enhance the lives of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, educate and raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s care and research,  and honor their mother’s legacy. More information at www.memorablepets.com.


 


 

Post By Shelley Webb (304 Posts)

Shelley Webb is a Registered Nurse and founder of The Intentional Caregiver. She was blessed to have cared for her father in her home for more than 4 years.

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Comments

  1. What a fantastic article! I remember visiting a family member in a nursing home. She was stocked with stuffed animals and was a very happy person because of it.
    She had one in her arms constantly. I feel it was the feeling of contact that helped her along.
    Thanks for posting this,
    Donna Merrill

  2. Remember the studies from quite some years back when baby monkeys clung to a wire mold covered with sheepskin because they had been taken away from their mothers? We all have that need for contact with another creature, whether real or imagined.

    Thanks for your comment!

    ~ Shelley

  3. Hi Shelly,
    This is an amazing and interesting post by you.It is really helpful to find out some tips on dementia care.

    Thanks a lot

  4. Hi, I have a family member that gets great joy having a stuffed animal. The problem I have is she thinks the animal is real requiring dog food and water. Also stories are made up about the stuffed dog barking at times, eyes moving and the dog becoming mobile. I don’t know how to react to this activity, any suggestions will be appreciated.

  5. Hi Sady,

    Thanks for writing. You didn’t mention whether or not your family member had been diagnosed with dementia or not. I’m going to assume that she does have signs of it.

    I wrote an article a couple of years ago (gosh, in looking I see that it was in 2010) called When the Plants She waters Aren’t Real (it can be found here: http://www.intentionalcaregiver.com/watering-everything-but-the-plants/) which describes a similar problem.

    I think my answer to that problem might be a little different now. Anything that brings joy to a person should be preserved. Is the feeding and caring of the stuffed animal causing problems or could there be some work-around for it so that she can still benefit by the stuffed pet?

    Regarding the pet coming to life: experts still don’t agree on whether it’s best to correct the person back to the truth or to redirect them to another activity away from their current ‘incorrect’ activity. Again, I would say that as long as her beliefs are not detrimental to her well-being, just acknowledge what she says and move on to something else.

    I hope that helps a bit.

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