The Power Of Pets: How Companion Animals Assist Alzheimer's Patients?

A furry friend can make a massive difference by being there for them during their difficult journey through this terrible disease.

Written by Tavishi Dogra |Updated : September 20, 2023 10:42 AM IST

In Alzheimer’s disease care, where every small victory counts, an unexpected but remarkably effective ally has emerged: the humble companion animal. The power of pets goes far beyond simple companionship for people coping with this crippling condition. Pets can significantly contribute to improving the overall quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and reducing its symptoms, according to both research and anecdotal evidence. Sanjeev Kumar Jain, CEO and Founder of Nema Eldercare, explore how companion animals assist Alzheimer’s patients in various ways, from aiding memory to combating stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety and encouraging exercise.

Helping With Memory

The gradual loss of memory and cognitive ability is one of the most challenging symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, having a pet as a companion can improve patients’ cognitive skills and memory recall. Regular pet care and interaction can be used as a mental exercise to help patients maintain their cognitive abilities for longer. Even when other memories fade, Alzheimer’s patients can still feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment from simple tasks like feeding, grooming, or recalling their pet’s name.

Combating Stress, Loneliness, Depression, And Anxiety

Patients with Alzheimer’s frequently struggle with increased stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety as they deal with the gradual decline in their cognitive abilities. Companion animals can remarkably lighten these emotional burdens. Pets offer patients safety and comfort because of their unconditional love and lack of judgment. Petting or cuddling an animal can naturally improve your mood by releasing the hormone oxytocin and lowering stress hormones. The constant company of a devoted companion can lessen loneliness and depression by easing feelings of loneliness and melancholy. Additionally, the calming influence of a pet can alleviate the agitation and anxiety that frequently accompany Alzheimer’s.

Patients Feel Relaxed

One cannot overstate how calming pets are for people with Alzheimer’s. In a world that can frequently feel confusing and unpredictable to those with Alzheimer’s, their presence offers a comforting, routine routine. The soothing sound of a cat purring or a dog’s tail waggling in time with music can help patients unwind and feel more at ease. Patients may behave less aggressively as a result and generally feel happier.

Eliciting Interaction

Alzheimer’s patients may withdraw from social interactions, making it difficult for family members and caregivers to interact with them. Companion animals, particularly dogs, promote interaction and communication. They act as a link between patients and their family members as well as other residents of nursing homes. Sharing experiences, enquiring about the pet, or having fun can encourage socialisation and enhance the patient’s emotional well-being.

Encouraging Exercise

Even for those with Alzheimer’s, staying physically active is essential for overall health. Patients may be inspired to exercise by having a pet that requires regular exercise, such as a dog that needs to be walked. In addition to improving the patient’s physical health, these activities allow them to engage in social interaction, sensory stimulation, and cognitive training.

Conclusion

The power of pets in assisting Alzheimer’s patients cannot be understated. In addition to being devoted companions, these animals have several advantages, including aiding in memory retention and reducing stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Pets’ soothing and social qualities help create a therapeutic setting that improves the quality of life for patients and their caregivers. Companion animals can also encourage physical activity, which will help Alzheimer’s patients feel better overall. A furry friend can make a massive difference by being there for them during their difficult journey through this terrible disease.

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