A successful pilot study that helped to reduced behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) was conducted on 15 nursing homes residents living with dementia who were exhibiting agitation and aggression. The study was carried out over a period of nine weeks on weekdays (2.30pm – 3.30pm) in two nursing homes that offering recreation programs. The team providing the intervention consisted of therapeutic recreation staff, therapy dogs, and their handlers. Residents in the program could play, pet, feed. chat or just talk about pets that they had in the past or just chat with the handlers. At three weeks, changes in the reduction in behaviour were apparent and after nine weeks, it was found that agitated behaviours were reduced and the residents in the program have become more engaged.
This study was published in the American journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias by Nancy Richeson from the College of Nursing and Health Professions in the University of Southern Maine, Portland.
Richeson, N. (2003). Effects of animal-assisted therapy on agitated behaviors and social interactions of older adults with dementia.American Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, 18(6), 353-358 6p.