Help raise money for dementia patients across the UK

951afa8c-f715-4204-abc8-d70042f7ffbc

18 September 2019
|
In recognition of World Mental Health Day, Your Cat is asking for your support to help cat-loving dementia patients across the UK.

Help us purchase as many robotic cats as possible, so Your Cat Magazine and the Rotary Club of Wakefield can donate them to care homes and dementia patients across the UK. To make donating to this cause straightforward, you can either donate online or via post. Each cat costs £100 to buy, but any donation — no matter how big or small — will go towards purchasing a cat for someone living with dementia.

  • PayPal — go to www.rotarywakefield.org.uk and click on the link ‘Your Cat Magazine robotic cat project’. Then, click on the ‘Donate’ button and follow the instructions on screen.
     
  • Cheques — payable to: Rotary Club of Wakefield. Post to: Rotary Club of Wakefield (Your Cat), New Brookhouse, 221 Barnsley Road, Wakefield WF1 5NU.
     
  • You can also email any enquires to: cats@rotarywakefield.org.uk

Mental health is something that should be on everyone’s radar — whether that’s your own mental well-being or that of a loved one, friend, colleague, pet, or even a stranger in need.

In 2019, the conversation has opened up, and there is becoming less of a taboo about reaching out to someone and saying ‘I’m not OK — I need help’ and discussing the lows as well as sharing the highs. However, there’s still a long way to go, especially in helping and standing up for those who may be unable to vocalise their sadness and loneliness.

In recognition of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Your Cat Magazine needs your support. We have chosen to help one of the most vulnerable groups in society — those living with dementia, which can be an incredibly hard and lonely disease to cope with.

At Your Cat, we know how therapeutic a cat’s purr can be and how the simple act of just stroking a pussycat can make many individuals feel instantly calmer, less anxious, and more positive.

Pets are the number one source of happiness according to one third (30 per cent) of owners, who even believe their four-legged friends provide more comfort than being in a relationship — according to a new survey by IAMS.

But what does this mean for those who can’t physically have a pet in their home? Thankfully, there is an alternative for people who would benefit from the companionship of a furry friend.

The next best thing

We recently discovered the JOY FOR ALL Companion Pet cats — sold by American company Ageless Innovation — which look, feel, and sound like real cats. They respond to being stroked, hugged, and motion, but they don’t require any special care or feeding.

For those who can’t have a real cat, the Companion Pet cat brings joy, comfort, and friendship — all positive steps towards achieving better mental health for those living with dementia.

“JOY FOR ALL Companion Pets were developed with the goal of delivering moments of play, comfort, and companionship to an ever-growing population of older adults and their families,” says Meghan Gamboa, co-founder and senior vice president, marketing and retail sales, at Ageless Innovation. “We’re honoured to work alongside Your Cat Magazine as we continue to carry out our mission of combating social isolation and loneliness across the world.”

Working together

Your Cat has teamed up with the Rotary Club of Wakefield, which already has an existing project supporting dementia patients across the country with robotic cats, for this campaign.

Led by club president Sheila Wainwright — who lost her husband, John, to early-onset dementia eight years ago — the project was inspired after attending a dementia conference where she saw several ‘cats’ on a table. She discovered that these were JOY FOR ALL Companion Pets.

In remembering how her own cat would often jump onto John’s knee, giving him peace and calm, she could see how these robotic cats could benefit people living with dementia. From there, the project was adopted by the Rotarians.

Club secretary Peter Clarke, who is heavily involved in the project, says: “We are very grateful to Your Cat for promoting World Mental Health Day and including the benefits of the robotic cats. We know first-hand the comfort they can bring to many people who are affected by dementia or feel socially isolated. Our sincere thanks for joining with Rotary International to get the message across to a wide audience.”

What is dementia?

It is estimated that over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today — a figure which is set to rise to over one million by 2021.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain, with the four most common being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. It is possible to have two types.

The brain is made up of nerve cells that communicate by sending messages. Dementia damages the nerve cells in the brain, so messages can’t be sent effectively, which prevents the brain from functioning normally.

The symptoms can include memory problems, cognitive inability, and poor communication.

It can affect a person at any age but is more commonly diagnosed in people over 65.

For more information, visit www.dementiauk.org

How you can help

Help us purchase as many robotic cats as possible, so Your Cat Magazine and the Rotary Club of Wakefield can donate them to care homes and dementia patients across the UK. To make donating to this cause straightforward, you can either donate online or via post. Each cat costs £100 to buy, but any donation — no matter how big or small — will go towards purchasing a cat for someone living with dementia.

  • PayPal — go to www.rotarywakefield.org.uk and click on the link ‘Your Cat Magazine robotic cat project’. Then, click on the ‘Donate’ button and follow the instructions on screen.
     
  • Cheques — payable to: Rotary Club of Wakefield. Post to: Rotary Club of Wakefield (Your Cat), New Brookhouse, 221 Barnsley Road, Wakefield WF1 5NU.
     
  • You can also email any enquires to: cats@rotarywakefield.org.uk

The deadline to donate is December 2, 2019.

Fundraising ideas

At Your Cat, we will be holding a fundraising event in the office to support the campaign — and we encourage you to do the same on October 10! Some ideas include cake sales, coffee mornings, raffles, fancy dress days, and tea parties.

Case studies

"Her face lit up"

Ann Lowe, who sadly lost her aunt to dementia earlier this year, says: “A robotic cat was donated to our Inner Wheel Association president two years ago by Wakefield Rotary Club. She decided to name it ‘Wheeler’ and offer it to the member who came up with the best suggestion for its use.

“I wrote about my aunt, who was in a home with dementia and was just about to have her 100th birthday. I talked about her behaviour and how the presence of animals seemed to help.

“She got very agitated and aggressive at times. She had always loved animals; and, when staff brought their pets into the home, her demeanour changed.

“I was lucky enough to win ‘Wheeler’ and then presented him to my aunt, whose response you can see in the photo. When my daughter and I gave her the cat, her face lit up, and she cuddled him to her, became totally relaxed, and spent the rest of our visit stroking and talking to him.

“She spent many happy hours talking to the cat and trying to feed him. I like to think it made her last year more peaceful.

“The staff and manager of the care home were really impressed with her response and are looking into the possibility of purchasing others — there was no way my aunt was going to let go of her new-found friend!”

"We were amazed at the change"

Helen Batty, manager at Walton Manor Care Home, Wakefield, explains what a difference a JOY FOR ALL Companion Pet — donated through the Rotary Club of Wakefield — made to the life of a dementia patient in the home’s care.

She says: “We have a lady at Walton Manor who is living with dementia. Over the past few months, she has become so frustrated that she called out and screamed a lot through the day. We have tried all sorts to help with this, using different activities, stimulation, and reassurance; nothing worked. Then, the Rotary Club brought the cat!

“This lady has cuddled, named, and loved him. She no longer shouts out and is happy and content. We were amazed at the change and the new life this lady now has.

“A family member whose mother has Alzheimer’s witnessed this and bought a cat for her as she showed episodes of anxiety and depression. This has also stopped.

“Not only has the cat changed the life of these ladies, but it has given our staff knowledge of the different kind of needs people living with dementia may have.

“I cannot thank the Rotary Club enough for what they did for us.”