CHICAGO (CBS) –– Unlike most business owners, Holly and John Schmid wish their market weren’t growing as fast as it is.
The Chicago-area couple runs a website with products geared for people struggling with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The Schmid’s began their business, Best Alzheimer’s Products, after the financial meltdown of 2008. John had lost his job and they had a family friend who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“She had no family. We were all she had,” says John. “So we started taking care of her: found her a place to live, made sure that she was active and doing things that she should. From the experience that we got doing that, we started this company.”
Holly, a former teacher, was especially interested in engaging the minds of Alzheimer’s patients. Through their on-line store, bestalzheimersproducts.com, she says they sell toys, puzzles and activities designed for people with declining cognitive skills.
Many caregivers, she says, don’t understand that a simple child’s toy can improve the life of someone with Alzheimer’s.
“We are afraid to give them something that they might be offended by. But they’re really not offended. They look at it as something they can do. They’re thrilled to have something to do.”
They say studies show that engaging the mind and stimulating the senses can help hold off the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
“Not just the activities but, light therapy, aromatherapy, music therapy. All of these things and we provide all of those.”
Best Alzheimer’s Products, founded and run by husband-and-wife, John and Holly Schmid.