For some years now the Transition Year Programme at St. Mary's Diocesan School has included visits by the lads to the Tredagh Lodge Alzheimer Day Care Centre and the Boyne View Nursing Home.
These visits are very much looked forward to by both the St. Mary’s lads and the older people in the care facilities but sadly this year the Covid-19 pandemic has put a stop to them.
“A pandemic, however, won't ever stop us from showing our support to the clients and residents” a spokesperson told Drogheda Life today. “Now more than ever it is important to keep that link alive and show the elderly living in our community that they haven't been forgotten and that we care about them.”
In a brand new initiative, all 96 Transition Year students at St. Mary's are raising funds to buy a soft dog Teddy for an elder living with dementia in the community. These will be gifted to the residents and clients of local day care centres and nursing homes to improve their wellbeing in these unprecedented times.
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The use of life-like soft toy animals can bring great benefits to people with a diagnosis of dementia, particularly those in later stages. Giving life-like animals to people with dementia is considered by some as a type of therapy; it has therapeutic benefits such as relaxation and pleasure and is not merely ‘playing’ with a toy.
Some people with dementia may find that they get enjoyment from holding or simply being with a soft toy animal, such as a cat or dog. It might remind them of a time when they had a pet of their own or simply create pleasant feelings of reminiscence or affection.
Some family members find that giving the person they care for a soft toy animal can help them to connect with the outside world. Some people with dementia can enjoy the sensation of holding something soothing, and it can inspire a renewed sense of purpose, which can lead to increased activity levels and liveliness.
There is evidence to show that the use of soft toy animals can be particularly helpful for those who may not be engaging with others, or who are restless, distressed or anxious, improving their well-being and ability to communicate.
All Transition Year students have been given a sponsorship card and are encouraged to try and raise at least €20 to cover the cost of one 'Dog for Dementia' and a collar that will display the dog's name on one side and the owners on the other.
If you would like to contribute to this very worthy fundraiser you can send any donations in an envelope marked 'Dogs for Dementia' to Ms R Curtis in the school. (St Mary's Diocesan School, Beamore Rd, Drogheda, Co. Louth)
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