People living with dementia can benefit from having a pet, it can give them a sense of independence and purpose. Caring for an animal can reduce loneliness, be a source of support and stress relief.
Unfortunately, dementia is a progressive disease, therefore, it is necessary for people with dementia and their carers to think about the future of the pet if the owner may not be able to look after it. This may happen if the person living with dementia is moving in a care home or in later stages of dementia, they may lose independence, therefore the carer or family members will have to take the responsibility of caring for the pet.
Animal welfare should always be considered and managed accordingly.
Before getting a pet, there are a few things to consider:
- Does the person understand the commitment and responsibility involved?
- It is important to consider the welfare of the animal: such as feeding, cleaning, exercise and more.
- Some pet shops, breeders or rescue centre may have concerns about the care they may provide.
- The acceptance of an animal should be considered before getting it, as some people might have allergies, be scared, or may not want a pet.
- Will the person benefit from regular interaction with a pet? Visits from a friend's or a family member's pet could be a compromise instead of owning an animal.
- Consider a lifelike robotic interactive pet. For some individuals, robotic companions might give them the same effect of comfort and calmness.
Have you Thought about Robotic Pets?
Animals come with responsibilities for life: you must feed and care for them, change their litter boxes, clean their cages, or take them outside for walks and bathroom breaks, they may also come with expensive vet bills.
However, Robotic companions can bring the same advantages as a real pet. For example, the robotic cat has built-in sensors that respond to motion and touch, like; moving its head, paws, meows and purrs. The dog version, wags its tail, moves, barks, and responds to voices. Having a robotic companion can be an effective way to calm and soothe, through cuddling and interaction.
Robotic Companion Pets
Research suggests that robotic pets can offer similar benefits to real pets such as reducing anxiety and a non-judgemental companionship.
Companion Pet Pups have all the love in the world to give but it won't chew up your slipper! Thanks to built-in sensors and speakers the pup respond to motion and touch, while recreating some of the more delightful moments of owning a dog including being a best friend.
Companion Pet Cat looks, feels and sounds like a real cat, but they're so much more than soft fur, soothing purrs, and meows. These cats respond to petting, hugging and motion much like the real ones you know and love but don't require any special care or feeding.
You can choose your own sensory companion HERE
Alzheimer's Society can offer information and support if you would like to find out more about dementia.