According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 55 million people worldwide suffer from the effects of dementia. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, this number is expected to increase.
Dementia is a debilitating disease that can cause memory loss in people, but it can also frighten those who suffer from it. Eventually, the disease can cause people to feel lost and alone, even when they are in a familiar environment and with people they know.
Although there is currently no cure for dementia, there are ways to alleviate the difficulties that often accompany it, including buying a dog.
At first, the idea of someone with dementia having a dog seemed unbelievable. But dogs can help in many ways, providing companionship and care when someone most needs it. If you are a caregiver or have a loved one with dementia, you might be surprised at the positive influence a dog has on their life.
The mental health benefits of having a dog
Dementia can be frightening and confusing to the person going through it. Mental health management is essential to promoting a better quality of life, especially when it comes to staying calm, reducing stress, and dealing with worries that can cause illness. It is well known that dogs can benefit your mental health in a variety of ways, including
- Reduce stress levels
- Increase the volume
- Calm anxiety
- Help with depression
It is easy for people with dementia to feel alone, and the dog can also provide a companion to relieve loneliness.
Stages of dementia can be triggered by a variety of factors, but lack of routine and lack of arousal are the two most common causes. A dog can give two to a person with dementia. Dogs thrive on habit and allow a person with dementia to stimulate their mind through daily care and enhancing activities.
Since dogs need daily exercise, they will also encourage you to stay active. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia and slow the progression of the disease in someone who already has it. Something as simple as walking a dog every day or spending time at the local park can make a big difference in the severity of symptoms. In addition, being outdoors is great for the mental health of dementia patients and a natural way to reduce stress. If you are a regular caregiver, you can also benefit from this stress relief!
A dog caregiver
Usually for people with dementia or other memory problems who need help throughout the day.
Although a dog will not replace a human caregiver or nurse, it can serve as an “extra” caregiver throughout the day if a little help is needed, or just to keep an eye on its owner. . Canine therapy is becoming a more popular method for people with dementia, but just having a dog to “take care” of the person you are caring for can help increase their discomfort and anxiety, improving their short-term memory. and communication skills, and retain them. more physically active.
If you do it one step further and adopt a service dog or a dog that is trained to treat dementia in particular, they can help you with things like
- Strength and balance
- Behavior change
It’s best to have a breed of dog that is relatively low maintenance and doesn’t put more stress on the life of your loved one or patient. Finding the right little dog to be with is a great way to have a little extra care at home, so he or she will never be alone, even if you can’t go.
If a person is in the early stages of dementia, now is the best time to adopt a dog. They can interact with them, train them, and get them used to the home so that they continue to feel comfortable and familiar with their surroundings as the illness progresses. Getting a dog sooner rather than later will help slow this progress and make your patient calmer and less stressed along the way.
Whether they have had a dog before or not, preparing their home for a four-legged friend can facilitate the new transition for everyone involved, including you. Some preparation ideas to keep in mind
- Remove the hanging objects that the puppy can reach
- Keep things off the ground
- Be sure of harmful substances/drugs
- Invest in a safe fence
- Install dog gates or invest in a crate
Dementia can be a lonely and confusing disease. Having a dog at home can reduce the impact of this loneliness and help your patient feel less alone. As a caregiver, a dog can also improve your mental health and prevent you from feeling burned out.
If you are caring for someone with dementia, consider discussing the benefits of associating a dog with them. The dog will provide strength, routine and comfort that will facilitate this difficult stage of life.