The Power of Play

Holding Oreo in her arms is pure bliss for Phyllis Connor. “I love him and he loves me. He’s just precious,” the senior resident says as she pets and kisses her Joy for All cat.

Joy for All companion pets help alleviate social isolation, loneliness, and cognitive decline by delivering joy, fun, and happiness to improve quality of life. The company sells dogs and cats and will soon have birds available. 

In May, Phyllis and six other residents at Platinum Resort Assisted Living and Memory Care in Georgetown were gifted with interactive, animatronic cats. Members of the community answered the call put out by Platinum Resort owners Shannan Conway and Laura Chotkevys to donate to the effort. “One of our goals is to make all our residents’ lives better and happy, and to inspire them to be who God made them to be,” Shannan says. “I have worked in corporate [senior] communities a long time, and we want to change the industry in positive ways.”

Seeing how much Phyllis loved cats, Shannan and Laura posted a Facebook video asking the community for a Joy for All cat, a lifelike companion designed to bring comfort and companionship to seniors. “Everyone just went crazy,” Shannan says.

The community went above and beyond, donating seven cats and promising to give more if needed. The impact on residents, who have a newfound purpose in caring for their furry friends, has been life changing. “They’re very soothing and calming. It makes them feel safe and brings them so much joy,” Shannan says. “We watch them decline day in and day out. Seeing the change it’s brought to some of them—it’s really heartfelt.”