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Robotic Seal Provides Comfort for Alzheimer’s Patient

Miss Beverle, as members of Springfield Masonic Community staff call her, has dementia. She experiences confusion, memory loss, and sometimes, depression. Dementia can be isolating. Sometimes Miss Beverle has difficulty interacting with people, but she always looks forward to visits from PARO, a robotic therapy animal provided by Ohio’s Community
Mercy Hospice.

When Beverle was first introduced to the robotic baby seal, she named her CeSealia. As she strokes the soft white fur and croons to the stuffed baby seal, her voice softens, and her features relax. CeSealia, a cuddly robot fitted with sensors that enable responses like purring, closing of eyes and tail wagging, responds to Beverle’s touch. Research finds that whether interacting with real or robotic animals, patients experience a reduced heart rate, reduced blood pressure and are calmer – all without the side effects of medication.

Beverle has been a resident of Springfield Masonic Community Pathways Center for Alzheimer’s Care for a year now. She and her husband, James, have been married for 62 years. “We met in 1951 at Springfield High School,” James recalls. “She was a cheerleader, in National Honor Society, and the homecoming queen. She attended Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing and was the top student in her class.” James points out a major difference between that era and this one. “We decided to get married and set a date, but the nursing school supervisor told Beverle that married students were not permitted to attend nursing school. We prayed together and decided to go ahead with the wedding anyway.” Even without a nursing degree, Beverle worked in the medical field her entire career, as secretary of a nursing unit at Miami Valley Hospital and as administrator of a neurosurgery office. James says Beverle “has been a caregiver her entire life.”

As his wife’s disease progresses, James is grateful that his 60-year Masonic membership provides an option for Beverle’s care. The Memory Care Center offers a nurturing environment and provides family members with education and resources to maintain a meaningful connection with loved ones. As a partner in care at Springfield Masonic Community, Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice helps address the needs of residents as their needs transition over time.

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