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Caregiver Insights: Senior In Home Care

Pet Therapy for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

By Patrick Philbrick-Director on Mar 14, 2015 3:10:23 PM

Pet Therapy for Home Care in Sacramento CA

We all know of the tremendous benefit service dogs bring to the disabled, but there is a new trend that has some promising value for people suffering from dementia in the Sacramento region. It seems that Medical_Alert_System.jpgpeople suffering from
 these cognitive decline symptoms can be helped by the companionship of all kinds of domesticated animals: dogs, cats, horses, fish and even birds.

In our Sacramento Alzheimer's and dementia in home care program, we assess patients for their level of dementia, using a patent pending interview process and proprietary software. Part of this assessment goes into the client's history with pets, and their preferences for types of animals they have enjoyed throughout their life. We then match the client with a caregiver comfortable and familiar with the care and habits of that particular animal. Care has to be taken to make sure that the temperament of all involved mix well.

Pets can have a relaxing effect on the dementia sufferer's demeanor. This in turn can help stimulate communication, memory, social interaction, even appetite and more balanced sleep patterns. Giving the client responsibility for certain aspects of the care of pets can foster a sense of responsibility and purpose, which in turn stimulates more positive responses for the Sacramento dementia care patient. Making sure the pets hPet_Therapy_web.jpgave water and food, and get out to go to the bathroom or have their area cleaned, helps people feel valued, competent, and worthwhile: all of which
can help stave off symptoms of depression and unhealthy anxiety for dementia sufferers.

Dogs can be trained to be active care aids as well. They can be trained to fetch objects that represent reminders for medications times, or taught to urge their masters to go outside for a break in the fresh air when they become agitated or are acting out.

Sacramento dementia care patients show an improvement in behavior and demeanor, and become more physically and socially active and appropriate when visiting farms or ranches with horses. The indifferent and relaxed attitude of the horses combined with the quiet beauty and solitude of the rural environment seem to have an overall calming effect. These visits also triggered fond childhood memories, having a very positive effect on the patient’s quality of life. These positive results were apparent throughout the rest of the day.

Even fish in a tank can be therapeutic for dementia patients. Studies done in nursing facilities have shown that when a fish take is placed in a lobby or common area, and Alzheimer’s patients are invited to gather around it, the patients were more relaxed and socially interactive. What’s more, they tended to display less problematic behaviors for the
 rest of the day; less agitation, less wandering and aggression, less “Sundowning” in general.

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Harmony Home Care provides home care services for the greater Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado Counties including: Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Granite Bay, Roseville, Cameron Park, Placerville and surrounding areas. For more information and a FREE assessment CALL (916) 414-9100.

Topics: Depression and Mental Health, Activities for Seniors, Alzheimer's and Dementia