As years go by and we’re getting older, there are so many issues to struggle with. And maybe the most hard one is memory loss. The senior residents at the Catalina Springs Memory Care Center in Oro Valley, Arizona are dealing with many types of amnesia.
So, in order to help them the Center’s health service director, Rebecca Hamilton came up with a brilliant idea. She developed a pilot program, called “Bottle Babies” that allows the elderly residents to spend time with foster kittens. After the local animal shelter, Pima Animal Care Center was in need of volunteers to feed the newborn kittens, who actually need to eat every two hours, Rebecca thought this might be a win-win situation for both the Catalina Springs Memory Care residents and the little kittens.
“This is extremely labor intensive, but only for a short period of time,” Hamilton told ABC News. “But for that period of time, it is very difficult to find fosters to take these kittens.”
Rebecca, who also used to be a volunteer at the animal shelter, said she could never hoped her initiative to be so successful. While the little fluffy balls got fed, the seniors embraced once again the joy and happiness.
“It was unbelievable how much joy and light these two little six-ounce balls of fluff brought to this facility,” Rebecca told TODAY. “The residents know they are doing important work and contributing to their community, and that’s something these folks don’t get a chance to do very often.”
According to medical experts, for elderly people to care of a pet could be beneficial in so many ways and the most important one is reducing stress. While cat therapy could help even better. “A feline companion helps to reduce loneliness and depression. Owning a cat can also help seniors feel less isolated and more satisfied with their lives,” the Staff Relief reported.
After all, suffering of those diseases doesn’t make you a mean person. “Memory loss does not erase the ability to love and nurture,” Rebecca said. “These are grandparents, and they’ve loved and nurtured children, grandchildren, and pets during their lives.”
However, the most unbelievable part of the initiative was that some of the seniors started to regain memories, after spending time with the cats.
“Many memories have started to resurface just by the act of caring for these babies,” Rebecca also said. “People began to bring up long-forgotten memories of a cat or a dog they had as a child.
“When you put a kitten into someone hands their faces just light up!” she added.