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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Study Shows Therapy Pets Sooth Alzheimer's Agitation

An article at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation titled "Therapy Pets Prove Soothing to People with Alzheimer's" says "Studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing show that even a short-term visit by a therapy dog to a nursing home can ease agitation in people with Alzheimer's." The article said that during the sundowner time of day, early evening, the effects of pet therapy seem to be most obvious.

Additionally, a study of Alzheimer's patients living in a Special Care Unit in a midwest Veterans Home showed that a visit from a therapy pet improved social behaviors, including "smiles, laughs, looks, leans, touches, and verbalizations."

Studies have also proved that "petting or stroking a pet can be very relaxing, slowing heart rates and lowering blood pressure."

As one might expect, dogs were especially useful for getting people to move away from the couch and television and get some exercise walking.

Seniors with dogs, according to the article, were more able to perform the activities of daily living.

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