According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many health benefits of owning a pet. They can increase a person’s daily exercise routine, they get us outside in the fresh air, and they increase our ability to socialize with like- minded friends. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.
Whether it’s a big floppy dog, a bird, a cat, or even a fish aquarium, the benefits of having a pet for one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are numerous. Pets bring great benefits to all of us—companionship, unconditional love, and fun. By their very nature, pets do not judge, and they are not critical and for someone with dementia, those qualities make them a good companion. Their very presence can help reduce the effects of dementia—anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, and loneliness. By their friendliness and non-threatening way, pets can help dementia patients be more interactive when sometimes they are not able to do so in social settings with other adults.
Below are some resources for those families interested in companion pets that benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
Pet Partners (www.petpartners.org) – Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, and those approaching end of life, improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond.
Pet Partners for Elderly (http://www.petsfortheelderly.org/) -The Pets for the Elderly Foundation helps pay the fees to participating animal shelters throughout the United States for older adults (age 60 and over) who adopt a companion dog or cat from a participating shelter – including pre-adoption veterinary exams and spay/neuter if part of the adoption fee.
Therapy Dogs (https://www.therapydogs.com) Alliance for Therapy Dogs provides testing, certification, registration, support, and insurance for members who volunteer with dogs to visit hospitals, special needs centers, schools, nursing homes, and other facilities. It is a network of caring volunteers who are willing to share their special canines to bring smiles and joy to people, young and old alike.
Interested in Volunteering?
AgingNext’s Memory Care Center serves as a safe, loving environment for older adults with memory impairment. All participants receive individualized and group attention, socialization and peer support. Caregivers can take a break knowing their loved ones are well taken care of.
Contact us at (909) 621-9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit with your pet to meet and greet our participants at the Center.