Whilst not everyone likes animals, for those that do, there have been a wide range of studies performed that have supported the benefits of animal-assisted therapy for people with Alzheimers and other kinds of dementia.
Whether designed to make a residential facility such as a nursing home more friendly and homely, or whether a visiting service for those in their own homes, research has demonstrated that that there are a wide range of benefits to be had.
Whilst possibly the most common pet used for pet therapy might be a dog, there are many other animals that can be considered and provide a benefit, including cats, birds and even fish.
The benefits that have been found include improved mood, greater social interaction, reduced anxiety, increased physical activity and even lower blood pressure.
If you are considering introducing pet therapy to your service, don’t forget that all animals used for this purpose should be up to date on their immunisations, well trained and carefully monitored. Of course you should always get written consent before taking a pet to a client, and you may also want to check your insurance and contracts, some local authority contracts explicitly prohibit taking animals to see clients.