Pets and the Fight Against Dementia
Author, Darlene Wagner for Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Therapy animals have long been used to assist people with various disabilities, including the blind and those who suffer from paralysis. And in more recent years, pets have become the unlikely heroes to those battling post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, diabetes, and a wide array of other ailments and disorders. Now, pets of all kinds have become increasingly common in the treatment of individuals with dementia-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Researchers have long suggested that pets are good for us; they offer health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, and boosting levels of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. And, anyone who is a pet parent can attest to the fact that animals just make you feel good! People suffering from dementia face many obstacles ~ irritability, restlessness, loneliness and depression, just to name a few. And, due to the anxiety that social situations can cause, they often avoid them all together, even when it means foregoing interactions with their family, friends and loved ones. As well, dementia suffers can lose their motivation and neglect necessary daily activities such as physical activity, eating and basic personal hygiene. It’s emotional factors like these that can make a furry companion ideal for someone with dementia.
Animals are naturally non-judgmental. The can provide a tremendous source of social support, companionship and unconditional love, making them ideal therapists and company for those with dementia. Research has shown that people with dementia, although they may display discomfort around human companions, recognize a pet as friendly and non-threatening and, when with a pet, are more interactive. And animals can create a psychological anchor to reality by maintaining a meaningful daily routine for a dementia sufferer, which thus adds to the quality of life.
Dogs in particular have proven to increase pleasure and reduce anxiety simply with their presence. And, depending on the mobility of the dementia patient, can help to increase the amount of physical activity and engagement the person participates in, as playful activities with the dog lead to such.
Are Animals Dependable “Therapists”?
Indeed, it does take a special animal to become a therapy pet. The animal’s temperament and personality is extremely important, and are the main determinant’s of whether or not a particular animal is cut out to serve as a therapist. The obvious choice would be an animal who is sociable, comfortable with strangers, and not easily scared or startled. If a potential pet is all of these, then, yes, he or she can be a highly dependable therapist for a dementia patient, considering the patient is not averse to welcoming a pet into his or her life.
While research is still being developed on therapy animals in the dementia field, it is evident that therapy animals have already shown to be beneficial to many people who suffer from a dementia-related disorder.
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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