[This abstract first appeared in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT) Volume 1 Issue 5 December 2010].
A care home in Birmingham keeps animals such as pigs, chickens, goats and other “pets” to improve the quality of life for its residents. This is part in a three-year research project into whether interaction with animals can benefit people with dementia.
NHS guidelines mention animal-assisted therapy as one form of intervention which could help people with dementia suffering from depression or anxiety.
Alison Bowes is leading this research project on quality of life for people with dementia and their family members. The project is analysing previous research on the effects of animal interventions too. A previous study found that having a fish tank increases the nutritional intake of dementia sufferers, and another study reported how companion animals can help to reduce verbal aggression and anxiety in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Can pigs and goats help people with dementia? BBC News, Health, November 11th 2010.