Jul 6, 2012

Dotty and Her Best Friend Harvey

Harvey was there for Dotty, day in, day out.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dotty and Her Best Friend Harvey
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Dotty went to Heaven six weeks ago. It doesn't seem like it to me.

I'm still not able to get myself into any kind of set pattern or routine. I'm working on it though. Soon enough.

For those of you who are new, Harvey is a repeat parrot. A toy. In my opinion the most effective Alzheimer's caregiver tool I ever ran across. Even better than the Swing music on the music channel.

Dotty told Harvey every single day, "Harvey, you are my best friend."

The Best Alzheimer's Caregiver Tool of Them All, Harvey

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Sadly, one by one Dotty lost all but one of her best friends to death. And near the end, she lost the last one to illness. So it should come as no surprise that Harvey became Dotty's best friend.

Harvey was there for Dotty, day in, day out.

When Dotty would wake up in the morning, and as she approached Harvey, she would start talking to him. Happy talk, delighted talk.

Sometime I had forgotten to turn Harvey on. When that happened Dotty would say, "Harvey what's wrong, are you mad at me"? I assured Dotty he wasn't mad, tapped him on the head a few times to wake him up, and turned him on.

Over the years, Dotty and I sang and talked with Harvey. I found that when I interacted with Harvey so did Dotty.

Harvey got a lot of useful information out of Dotty. Like when she would tell him she had a headache. Wouldn't tell me, but would tell Harvey.

Harvey was very good at keeping Dotty entertained. Sometimes I would put the two of them out front with some potato chips. Dotty would always lament that she was sorry that Harvey could not eat some chips.

By now you might be thinking, oh that is so cute. Well, there was a lot more to it than meets the eye. Sometimes you have to look beyond the obvious.

Dotty would frequently tell Harvey, I love you. Some people think that persons who are deeply forgetful stop thinking and feeling. No way. Not even close.

Dolls, toys, art, music, painting really bring out the more there in dementia patients. This lets us know there is more there. More there if you care to pay attention and think about it.

I hope to find better ways to help and convince Alzheimer's caregivers that there is more there.

One thing I now know for certain. Persons suffering from the various dementias don't love you less when you are the primary caregiver.

They Love You More.

You can go here to listen to and watch Dotty and Harvey interact and sing.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,711 articles with more than 302,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room