Therapy animals delay progression of dementia symptoms in nursing home residents, study finds

Share this article:

Engagement with therapy animals slows down the progression of dementia symptoms in nursing home residents, according to a recently published study.

Researchers based in Germany and Switzerland divided 65 nursing home residents into two groups. One group received 10 weekly sessions of animal-assisted therapy, and the other did not. The residents were assessed for cognitive impairment, presence of agitation/aggression and depression, up to a month after the AAT sessions took place.

Among those who did not receive the animal therapy, agitation/aggression and depression “significantly increased” over the 10 weeks, the researchers found. Those symptoms remained steady among those who were interacting with the animals.

Previous studies have shown “beneficial effects” of AAT among those with psychiatric disorders, but this is one of the only studies looking at AAT's potential benefits for those with dementia, according to the research team.

“AAT is a promising option for the treatment of agitation/aggression and depression in patients with dementia,” the authors concluded. They said further study is needed on the effects of longer-term animal therapy.

The findings appear in this month's issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Share this article:

More in News

Involving nursing assistants with decisions may result in higher quality, study finds

Empowering nursing assistants and family members of nursing home residents in decision-making results improved service, a new study finds.

Also in the news for July 28, 2014 . . .

Nursing home aide accused of choking a resident....Monitoring pulse after stroke may prevent another stroke...Slow walking speed may predict dementia

Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission evaluate site-neutral payments, a new brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explores ...