Out of Tragedy Comes Inspiration
Nancy Stevens, mother of Tombot CEO and Co-Founder Tom Stevens, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011. As Tom assumed control of Nancy’s day-to-day affairs, Nancy and Tom had several really bad days. By far the worst was when Tom realized he had to take away Nancy’s dog Golden Bear. Golden Bear was a two-year-old Golden Doodle; a beautiful dog with ordinarily a very sweet disposition. As Nancy’s disease state worsened and her universe of friends and activities shrank, Golden Bear become an increasingly important companion for coping with her loss of independence. However, still resentful of needing live-in assistance, Nancy managed to train Golden Bear to be aggressive towards her caregiver. Fortunately, Tom had close family friends that could provide a new home for Golden Bear. But losing Golden Bear was devastating to Nancy.
Tom began what would become a multi-year research exploration into the science of emotional attachment, especially as it relates to relationship formation with pets. Along the way, Tom also learned a great deal about dementia, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), psychotropic and anti-psychotic drugs, emotional attachment objects, doll therapy, and robot therapy. Convinced it was possible to do something really worthwhile for Nancy and other seniors with dementia, Tom launched Tombot in 2017.