Pet Therapy and Dementia Benefits
Dementia can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are treatments available. One popular option is pet therapy – which has been used for many years to assist those suffering from emotional and behavioural issues.
Petting can reduce stress and anxiety for anyone, but it’s especially beneficial for those suffering from dementia. Studies have revealed that interacting with pets reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol while increasing feel-good chemicals like serotonin.
Pet therapy has the added benefit of relieving patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia by providing them with a sense of calm. Animals also provide great exercise, making it an invaluable benefit to those receiving therapy through pet therapy.
Improves Communication: Therapy dogs can be a great source of companionship for Alzheimer’s patients who may struggle to communicate with their families and caregivers. They may even offer physical assistance to those having difficulty ascending stairs or standing from a sitting position.
Increases social interactions: Studies have indicated that pets can help seniors living with dementia form stronger connections to their caregivers and other residents of the facility. They also encourage them to become more engaged in activities they once enjoyed, which may make them happier and healthier overall.
Memory Recall Enhancement: Interacting with animals helps patients remember things they once didn’t understand, which can have positive effects on cognitive function and mood. It may also improve their sequence temporal events which helps them process memories more effectively and reduces the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Refreshes Memory: Therapy dogs can bring back happy memories for people suffering from dementia. They may also help to restore feelings of excitement and contentment in those who have experienced a decline in their memory capabilities due to the condition.
They can help with emotional issues like loneliness and isolation by offering companionship and a sense of safety. Furthermore, they may reduce depression and anxiety that often accompany dementia by encouraging someone to smile more frequently and laugh more freely.
Gives an incentive for exercise: When pets are around, they might want to spend more time playing and interacting with their caretakers. This can improve both their appetite and overall wellbeing.
Additionally, exercise can help lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. This is essential since those living with dementia often suffer from high blood pressure and rapid heartbeats that are related to the symptoms of their condition.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the therapeutic effects of therapy dogs, showing them to significantly enhance a person’s quality of life and wellbeing. Indeed, studies have even discovered that therapy dogs can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
Pet therapy utilizes a variety of animals, and it’s essential that you select an appropriately certified dog or other species that has undergone proper training for patient interaction. They should have all their vaccinations up-to-date and be closely monitored so as not to inadvertently harm anyone who comes in contact with them.