Having a pet of any kind can really make a home and if you’re living alone, it can provide all important companionship. A pet also brings many benefits such as stress relief, reducing anxiety, providing unconditional love, and never being judgmental.
For those with dementia, these very qualities of a pet can be just the right companionship they need. It has been widely written that the very presence of a pet reduces the effects of dementia symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, and loneliness. It has been seen to of helped mood and communication as well.
Research conducted by Purdue University in the US looked at links to the increased nutritional intake of those with Alzheimer’s and pets. The study tracked 60 individuals with Alzheimer’s. Nursing Professor Nancy Edwards found that patients who were exposed to the fish tanks appeared to be more relaxed and alert, and they ate up to 21% more food than they had before the introduction of the fish tanks. The average increase in food consumption was 17.2%.*
The study also showed a decrease in the number of instances and the duration of behaviours such as wandering, pacing, yelling, and physical aggression.
For those that have pets they become a much-loved member of the family and when the time comes when someone needs some support in day-to-day living, to be able to stay with your beloved pet in your own home removes the anxiety of separation providing comfort and consistency.