Animal therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, has gained significant attention in recent years as a beneficial treatment for individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
This increased focus can be attributed to the growing emphasis on creating a more home-like environment in nursing homes and assisted living centers.
Numerous research articles have been published on the advantages of pet therapy for individuals with dementia. Let's take a look at some of these benefits:
Studies have shown that there are several advantages to consider when it comes to older adults with dementia. These include enhanced mood and increased social interaction, which are particularly important as individuals with dementia are prone to developing depression. This can further impact their overall well-being and ability to function.
A specific study focused on animal-assisted therapy at an adult daycare center for older adults with dementia. The findings revealed that engaging in activities with dogs had a positive impact. It reduced feelings of anxiety and sadness while also promoting physical activity and fostering positive emotions.
Did you know that spending time with pets can have a calming effect on people?
A study published in 2008 found that nursing home residents who participated in pet therapy experienced a decrease in stress levels. Additionally, other studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy can lead to lower blood pressure levels.
Lower Behavioral Problems
In a separate study, researchers examined the impact of having a resident dog versus a visiting dog in a nursing home. The results showed that when a dog was added to the Alzheimer's unit, the residents' challenging behaviors decreased significantly throughout the day.
Additionally, other research discovered that pet therapy had a positive effect on individuals with Alzheimer's disease, leading to a reduction in agitation and aggression.
Providing animal therapy may be something you have never considered, but the rewards are worth it.
The unconditional love and acceptance from an animal, along with the therapeutic physical touch they provide, can greatly enhance one's quality of life, whether or not they have dementia.