Therapy and service dogs have been around for many years assisting people with disabilities like blindness, deafness and even post-traumatic stress disorder. But these 4-legged friends can also be a great help to those who are suffering with dementia.
Dogs love routine and predictability, plus they know how to offer support and comfort. They are often called man’s best friend for a reason. They are a terrific companion to any human and can also assist those who need help.
With some training, therapy dogs can be a big help to those who require assistance because of dementia. Those with dementia struggle with many things, mainly with memory loss and performing day to day activities, especially as dementia progresses. A full-time caretaker is often needed and this is where a therapy dog could be another wonderful option.
By providing assistance, a therapy dog can also bring strong friendships. The patient and therapy dog will develop a special bond and a way to communicate so that the dog can respond to simple commands to help the patient get home or other needs.
A GPS tracker is also located on the dog’s collar just in case the patient ends up getting lost. Therapy dogs are trained to be with the patient at all times and to make sure they don’t leave home alone. Dementia patients can lose their way and forget how to get home, so therapy dogs help the patients find their way home easily. Therapy dogs will also assist in waking patients up, helping them take showers, finding their clothes and take care of oneself in general. They can also respond to a timer or command to remind the patient to take medications.
All of these things help the patient feel more independent and provides self-confidence. This can help with depression that often occurs in dementia patients and help reduce the feeling of loneliness. Not only will therapy dogs offer emotional support, but also provide physical support as they can help the patient with balance issues or getting up some stairs. These things can improve the mood of patients and bring a positive influence to their life. Therapy dogs also encourage patients to exercise by walking and spending more time outside. This can lead to more socializing for the patient.
By reading this blog, I acknowledge that I am not creating or entering a clinical or medical relationship with Dr. DenBoer and SMART Brain Aging. I understand that all materiel included in this blog is strictly for informational purposes only. The content is to provide me with information and knowledge and I will not substitute it for diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. I am aware the author does not hold a medical degree or license and is simply providing me additional information on a variety of health topics.