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Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Help With Dementia?

July 21st, 2016

hands-981400_1280First what is Dementia?

Dementia is a large umbrella term used to describe a group on conditions which include:

  • Forgetfulness,
  • Limited social skills
  • Hindered thinking abilities
  • Decreased daily functioning

A few Notable Studies.

One study in the 1999 Journal of Psychosocial Nursing explored the effects of 28 clients with Dementia. The study videotaped them during the late afternoon hours while interacting with a dog in the facilities common area. The study found an increase in the frequency and duration of smiles and positive looks.

Another notable study “Animal-assisted therapy and nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease” in the Western Journal of Nursing Research found that by placing a fish tank in the dining room that the patients ate more food and gained more weight. Interesting is the fact that the study also used 2 control cases including no fish and a picture of fish, both did not make a positive change in diet habits.
What does this mean?

Although these are only limited studies it does give hope to those with love ones impacted with Dementia.