Pet Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients – What You Need to Know

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Elder Care in Sterling VA

Elder Care in Sterling VAThere has been a lot of research done on the health benefits of spending time with a pet. Pets can help people of all ages reduce their anxiety, depression, and stress. They have also been known to help their human companions to lower their blood pressure and feel happier. For elderly adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, spending time with a pet can also be very beneficial. Pets can bring joy, laughter, and companionship to elderly adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia who also experience loneliness, feelings of isolation, stress, and depression. If you are a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may feel, however, that adopting a pet for your loved one may not be appropriate. If you do not have the time or resources to help your loved one to care for a pet, then adopting may not be possible. Fortunately, there are ways for you to facilitate pet visits with your loved one without making the large commitment that comes with pet adoption. If you believe that your loved one could benefit from pet therapy, read on for some helpful tips to help you to get pet therapy for your loved one.

Call Your Local Shelter

Sadly, there are many wonderful pets that end up in animal shelters across the country for a variety of reasons. When pets aren’t spayed or neutered, it can result in overpopulation and many pets are given to shelters when families are unable to care for them for a multitude of reasons. These pets can often be friendly, loving, and very accepting of human companionship. For these reasons, many animal shelters sponsor pet therapy programs with the animals under their care. To find out if your local shelter has a program for elderly adults, give them a call!

Have Pet Visits
Do you have a friendly dog or cat or do you know someone who does? If so, consider having scheduled pet visits so that your loved one can spend time with a friendly and loving animal on a regular basis. Before introducing a new pet to your loved one, be sure that they feel comfortable around the animal and that the animal is well trained and not too high-energy. Dogs and cats that have too much energy can overwhelm and elderly adult with Alzheimer’s or dementia, resulting in a negative experience.


If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home elder care in Sterling, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.