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  • Kathryn Watson

5 Benefits of Pet Therapy for Dementia Patients




Over the last several years, animals have been proven to have therapeutic benefits for people suffering from emotional and behavioral disorders. Moreover, research suggests that pets significantly positively impact people suffering from dementia, especially in the case of seniors living in residential care homes.

Dementia is a disease that revolves around the loss of cognitive function and leads to people losing the ability to remember things or control emotions. Commonly experienced symptoms of dementia patients include depression, reduced physical activity, restlessness, mood fluctuations, and irritability. In this regard, pet therapy has shown remarkable results. Read on to find out!


Five Benefits of Pet Therapy for Dementia Patients

Here are five benefits of pet therapy for dementia patients:


1. Increased Physical Activity


One of the most significant benefits of pet therapy for dementia patients is that it helps boost the physical activities of seniors. Some scientific studies prove that petting animals reduce blood pressure and heart risk of heart attacks. Moreover, walking, petting, and playing with pets also help improve motor skills and mobility among seniors. Furthermore, playing with animals is also great for hand-and-arm movement. Hence, this increased activity and exercise improves seniors’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being.


2. Soothes Mind and Reduces Depression and Anxiety


Stress and depression one of the most commonly experienced symptoms of dementia. While pet therapy is beneficial for all age groups, research suggests that it is particularly beneficial for seniors facing depression. Being in the company of pets also helps seniors through challenging life transitions such as being away from their loved ones for facing illnesses. Moreover, pets divert people’s attention to things that upset them and allow them to focus their energies on something positive, reducing stress and anxiety to a vast degree.


3. Pets Provide Emotional Support


Humans and pets have been known to have a mutually beneficial and dynamic bond for centuries. This bond can be very beneficial for people with dementia, as they don’t view pets as a threat, encouraging them to display more interactive behaviors. Dementia patients often get attached to pets they are playing with, thus allowing them to benefit from increased emotional support and reduced feelings of loneliness and depression.


4. Involves Feelings of and Old Happy Memories


Pet therapy also invokes feelings of playfulness and old memories among patients who have dementia. Being around pets can help them reminisce about the pets they once owned, allowing them to relive the happiness and joy they experienced while playing and taking care of them.


5. Pets Provide a Sense of Purpose


Playing the role of a caretaker at an old age gives seniors a sense of purpose and a feeling of being wanted. Dementia patients facing depression may find it difficult to leave their bed in the morning. Pets provide them with a brighter and fuller start to their day by greeting them with their refreshing energy. Caring for pets also gives seniors a sense of responsibility, bringing about a healthy routine in their lives.


Wrapping Up


It’s no secret that being around a pet has a soothing impact on humans. Various studies have proven that animals help boost energy levels, improve emotional well-being and reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. Hence concluding that patients who have dementia can significantly benefit from pet therapy.





In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way" Light Heart Memory Care homes are specially designed for 8 residents. This gives us the ability to give personalized care to each and every resident. Contact us to learn more about Light Heart Memory Care, or book a free consultation.

Phone: 281.282.0770 Email: office@lightheartmemorycare.com

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