Parenting Your Parents: Highlight on Dementia Friendly Alabama

By: Lillian Lalo

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Alabama News Network) – Dementia Friendly Alabama’s goal is to foster independence and improve the quality of life for senior citizens in Autauga, Elmore, & Montgomery counties. The program is part of the Central Alabama Aging Consortium, which is a state-wide aging network.

Abbey Rogers, the Dementia Friendly program coordinator, explained the goal of Dementia Friendly Alabama “is to build a community where people with dementia, and their family members, and care partners, feel comfortable and welcomed into the community.”

 

The group promotes awareness, provides information, and offers dementia training for community members.

 

“The people we want to reach are the caregivers. Most of them are looking for resources and help, and they don’t know where to go,” Rogers said.

 

One of the most unique resources Dementia Friendly offers is a special kind of pet therapy. This particular pet therapy offers companionship without the responsibility. Robotic companion pets might look like toys to us, but for someone with dementia, they can feel just as real as our pets.

 

Rogers told us a story about a man who had to give his beloved dog to a family member when he was diagnosed with dementia and had to move into a long-term care facility. “And we were able to give him a robotic pet to take with him. The day we gave it to him, he named the pet. He took him to the pet store and got him a bed and a collar. And that was his best friend,” said Rogers.

 

Abbey finds that caregivers are sometimes a little hesitant about the Robotic Companion Pet Program. “They don’t expect their loved ones to enjoy the pet, and love it, and want it by their side all the time,” Rogers said.

Dementia Friendly offers these robotic pets for free to anyone with dementia living in the state of Alabama. Visit dementiafriendlyal.org to find a variety of resources for anyone caregiving for someone with dementia. Visit dementiafriendlyal.org/robotic-pets/ for a direct link to apply for a robotic pet.

Categories: Parenting Your Parents, Parenting Your Parents