At Discovery Villages, our Senior Citizen communities are designed to give you the necessary support to carry out your life with dignity. We provide many lifestyles to fit you or your family members’ specific needs and desires. If you are not fully satisfied with our community, we provide a 100% money back guarantee within the first ninety days.
“There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.” –Konrad Lorenz
In March 2013, “Creature” the then two-year old Pit Bull, pulled her owner outside and led her to the woods nearby their home in Martinsville, New Jersey. Carmen Mitchell, a dementia sufferer was found lying in the woods. Mitchell had been missing overnight in the cold for eight hours. If it wasn’t for Creature’s keen sense of smell, the story may have ended up a tragedy.
Creature’s heroic story is merely one remarkable example of the many ways canines have a significant, positive impact on our lives. Now, canines are being trained to service people suffering from diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In 2009, US Congress first approved these therapy dogs to help retired veterans deal with mental illnesses, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Now, canines are being trained to aid in the care of dementia patients! According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.1 million Senior Citizens ages 65 and older have Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015. One in three Seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Dementia-Assistance dogs may not only cut high rising healthcare costs, but can also help improve the functions and quality of life for patients and their families. These dogs are primarily trained to help patients in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
How can Dementia-Assistance dogs help?
- These dogs, with their long leashes, can lead dementia patients in the appropriate direction if they get lost.
- These dogs can help with simple short-term memory tasks. For example, when a dementia patient gives the command “Home,” a dementia assistance dog should be able to get his or her owner home safely. Other simple tasks may include help locating a car in a parking lot or finding the exit of a store.
- These dogs are equipped with an electronic GPS system, which alerts family members of the patient’s exact location, in case they are unable to get home.
- These dogs are trained to call attention to their owners by barking, in case the dementia sufferer cannot get home safely or is endangered in any way.
- These dogs can track their dementia owners by their scent, in case they wander off.
- These dogs can greatly help with routine and predictability. Often these canine service providers are often trained with sounds, such as alarm clocks, that go off at certain times during the day that signal specific alerts.
- One certain sound/ alarm may be for the owner to take his or her medicine. The dog can bring the medicine to the patient with a note reminding him or her of the dosage and any other pertinent information in regards to the medication.
- Another sound/ alarm may signal the dog to remind its owner to eat. A dementia-assistance dog may open a kitchen cabinet to remind its owner.
- Another certain sound/ alarm may signal the dog to take his or her owner to the bathroom.
- If a dementia patient gets injured, a canine service provider is trained to trigger an alarm in the house.
- These dogs can also help with Sundown Syndrome. According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, researchers have found that these canines can help alleviate symptoms associated with Sundown Syndrome in Alzheimer’s patients, including agitation, restlessness, wandering, confusion and aggression.
- These dogs provide companionship and friendship to counteract “the blues.” People with dogs often engage more with others, and this can certainly be beneficial for dementia sufferers in a variety of ways. These therapy dogs can help patients combat feelings of depression, isolation and anxiety, which can lead to a greater quality of life.
To find out more about therapy dogs helping dementia and alzheimer’s patients, visit www.dementiadog.org. To watch a video highlighting the positive effects of these therapy dogs with their owners, please check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5WFe6K5xVU
Discovery Village at Stuart offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 772.247.5400.