For those of you who have never encountered a Pete the Repeat Parrot toy, simply saying a word or phrase to it, the parrot will, as its name indicates, repeat what you say. Bob DeMarco, the caregiver for his mother Dotty, shared in the Alzheimer’s Reading Room an uplifting story of how Dotty’s mood and behavior improved once he introduced her to Pete the Repeat Parrot.
Bob shares that Dotty grew very attached to Pete and would have very long conversations with him where she was fully engaged and talking instead of napping and/or sitting alone. Opening herself up to the parrot prompted her to do activities she hadn’t done in years and was more alive in conversations with others. Thanks to Pete the Repeat Parrot, Bob’s mother became more engaged than she had been in years.
In some ways the parrot acts as a second caregiver: people, like Dotty, talk to and confide in Pete and tell him how they are feeling and express other meaningful information that they may not want to tell someone directly. Talking with Pete for a half hour or so every day is a form of brain exercise which is beneficial for general health as well as social skills. Although there is no research or science to support this finding, people like Dotty and many more have found positive results with it. After Bob posted his story in the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, 500 people shared that they wanted to try their own Pete the Repeat Parrot for their loved one with dementia. Who would have thought that a child’s toy could make a difference in the lives of adults with dementia?