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How Pets and Support Animals Help Seniors with Dementia

Recent studies have suggested that service dogs have positive benefits for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients

The use of service dogs in assisted living facilities has increased rapidly for patients suffering from illnesses ranging from deafness, blindness, and PTSD. Research has found that service pets provide comfort and support to those who may be in a lot of emotional distress and physical discomfort. It has recently been discovered that service dogs can also benefit those who are suffering from memory illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia as well.

Those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease might struggle when attempting to execute daily tasks for themselves as their disease progresses. Lots of people attempting to encourage someone they love with this kind of condition have turned into hiring home care assistance for the patient. However, a specially trained service dog might assist with facilitating the void for needing for others, while at the same time providing companionship and empowerment.

How therapy dogs are trained

Among the most important tasks of a dementia service dog is to get the owner home when the command is given. The dog can also be trained to stay with her or his owner and telephone for help by barking if the owner fails to go home, which may happen with someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease if she or he gets confused. The owner may also choose to place a GPS navigation tracker on her or his collar, that makes it easy for the owner’s family to locate the pair when needed.

The dogs are trained to prevent her or his owner from leaving the home unaccompanied. This is particularly essential if the owner lives alone or remains in your home unaccompanied some of the time like can be the case of somebody who lives with a working spouse.

Service dogs can be trained to help with daily tasks, such as waking up the owners in the morning, reminding them where their clothing is, and even bringing medications to the patient. At home service, dogs may offer both mental and physical aid. Additionally, to always giving a listening ear, these dogs might be helpful for physically encouraging an owner who has problems with balance difficulties, such as climbing and descending stairs, and rising and sitting.

A constant dogs companion may drastically impact an owner-general emotional wellbeing. There are three ways a dog may favorably affect her or his owner’s psychological condition: Living with trained dementia support dog may ensure greater independence for the patient. The owner is instilled with a feeling of self-reliance since she or he doesn’t need to rely on another person to help with daily tasks. This self-sufficiency may bring about a feeling of confidence and improved mood. This may be an essential factor in warding off depression and nervousness, which might be adverse effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A guide dog may promote her or his owner to be social, due to the nurturing relationship established between the owner and dog, and the simple fact that a patient now has more opportunities to spend some time outside, meeting new people with the guide dog’s assistance.

The patient and their support dog have the exact same access rights to public areas as someone without a support dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects those with a disability who use service dogs, and since dementia is considered mental disorder, these patients are insured under this act.

Animals are non-judgmental, therefore they have been born for this kind of role. They are great therapists and companions for anyone with dementia because they supply support and unconditional love. The dogs that are chosen for these roles tend to be picked by their personality. For instance, it is important she or he follows basic commands such as sit, stay, down and heels, and doesn’t nip, bite or jump on people. Without this base, a dog will not be considered for progression in the next phase of therapy or service training. Additionally, it is essential a dog must be able to deal with an owner who has regular mood swings, which may be common for dementia patients.

There are specialized training programs for both therapy and service dogs. The animals must prove they can respond appropriately to different sceneries that may occur with patients. Even though they might vary slightly by the program, most will incorporate their behavior while on a leash, how well they behave with patients, their reactions to distractions and unplanned events, and their temperament around other dogs and children.

For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.

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