Joy for All

by Jack Elliott

We know that loneliness, depression, and dementia are vicious enemies that deprive many of happiness during our Golden Years. Agitation caused by dementia has necessitated medicating some patients, a seeming necessity, but perhaps there are better alternatives. It is known that introducing pets into the living environment can have a very soothing positive effect on many sufferers. However having and caring for a whole menagerie of helpful pets has major challenges as well.

When we were small a teddy bear or other snuggly toy or blanket offered a workable solution for that companionship. Often it can offer similar comfort to a dementia patient. With the advent of animatronics now inexpensive and widely available, cuddly soft companions that move, meow, whimper, and wag their tails, and interact with people offer life-like soothing friends… and they don’t need litter boxes.

Caregivers are seeing amazing results from these electronic robots as dementia patients interact with their new pets. These pets can be cuddled and groomed. They are automatically activated. Many patients are soothed, become re-engaged with their caregivers, and recover their ability to socialize within their environment… and their pets. Life becomes more enjoyable. Our seniors dedicated their lives to raising and protecting us. Let’s return the favour.

Calli Vandenbrand, Riverside Health Care, Resident Experience and Activation
Coordination and Richard Trenchard, President of the WRRD Lions Club delivered a whole
menagerie of Joy for All therapeutic animatronic Cats and Dogs to our Three Seniors Homes In
Fort Frances, Emo and Rainy River. Just in Time for Christmas. Non allergenic and no litter boxes
required! – Jack Elliott photo

As a pilot project the West Rainy River District Lions Club has used funds raised through events like the “pie roulette” to purchase a number of these Pets, both Cats and Dogs for the seniors residences at Rainycrest Long Term Care in Fort in Fort Frances, The Emo Hospital and the Rainy River Extended Care Residence. The program is being rolled out at the three Riverside Centres by Calli Vandenbrand, Resident Experience and Activation Coordinator for Riverside Health Care.

We delivered the new menagerie this week. Christmas will come a little early for the Senior Kids this year. Should be lots of excitement under the Tree Christmas Morning