For years, pets of all kinds have brought comfort and joy to people of all ages. They have been especially welcome in nursing homes and assisted living facilities as a form of therapy and companionship for seniors. Pet therapy for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders has seen great success in many forms. Dogs and other specifically trained animals are used to interact with Alzheimer’s seniors in need of companionship, interaction and socialization. Seniors pet, walk, play with and feed the therapy dogs. These actions help seniors gain more physical activity if they are able to walk with the dog or play fetch. Therapy dogs have also been known to help seniors cope with their feelings. Those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s lose the ability to communicate and might have behavior changes. Many Alzheimer’s assisted living facilities have seen their seniors’ moods and attitudes change for the positive after several visits from therapy dogs. The dogs provide an opportunity of positive nonverbal communication for those seniors who have lost the ability to communicate verbally. Alzheimer’s assisted living facilities have also seen the therapy dogs help seniors become more social. The dogs provide a non-threatening atmosphere for the seniors to communicate and socialized as they please.
Along with all of the other benefits of therapy dogs, seniors at Alzheimer’s assisted livings just enjoy the comfort the dogs bring to them. Smiling faces and joyous laughter from seniors shows how much they enjoy the company of a therapy dog. These dogs show unconditional love for anyone and everyone and for those who battle with Alzheimer’s disease, that means to whole world to them.