THERAPY DOGS FOR COMPANIONSHIP IN THOSE SUFFERING WITH DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMERS
Multiple peer reviewed studies have been published on the use of certified therapy dogs for dementia and alzheimers patients. They have found that therapy dog are capable of having profound effects including:
- Reduced agitation. Agitation behaviors, common among dementia patients, are reduced in the presence of a dog.
- Social interaction increases. For example, a trial was conducted in two US nursing homes. Those who were tested had MMSE scores of 15 or less with a diagnosis of dementia were treated with animal-assisted therapy. Participants met with the dog and it’s trainer for one hour per day over the period of the study. The participants could feed, groom, pet, and socialize with the dog and the trainer, often discussing pets previously owned. After the meetings with the dog, the participants scored significantly better scores on the CMAI index of behavioural disturbance. Consistently throughout multiple studies dementia patient displayed fewer signs of agitation and more social behaviours during animal therapy. Some studies have shown long-term improvements in the ability to socialize.
- Reduction in depressive symptoms. Studies imply a significant benefit for those suffering from dementia. Participants of studies relating to animal therapy and effect on depression report symptoms of anxiety and depression half as severe than for those who did not have the benefit of dog therapy.
- Therapy dogs can ease the symptoms of “Sundowners Syndrome”. Sundowners Syndrome is a condition that typically occurs in the evening where sufferers get confused and agitated by nightly routines.
Effects on Physical Health
- Physical activity. Depending on a patient’s mobility, they may be able to groom, toss a ball, or go for a short walk.
- Improved eating. Dementia patients have been shown to eat more following a dog’s visit.
- Blood pressure reduction. Studies of community-dwelling seniors show those in contact with a dog have significantly lower mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure as compared to those seniors with no access to a dog
Would you like to meet one of our Certified Therapy Dogs?
Do you think you might benefit from the companionship of one of our certified therapy dogs for dementia and alzheimers? Let us know. We would be happy to assist you.