Can caring for a pet help a person with dementia?

Pets can give people with dementia feelings of unconditional love. But getting a new pet isn’t a decision to be made lightly. There are lots of things to consider before seeking a pet for someone with dementia.

People with dementia can find caring for an animal to be a source of support and comfort. A person living with dementia can also benefit from the companionship and friendship from keeping a pet, and caring for the pet may also provide a sense of purpose. 

How can a person with dementia benefit from keeping a pet?

Animal-assisted interventions can improve self-esteem and confidence in people with dementia. It can also promote quality of life and encourage independence.

If a person with dementia is having trouble communicating with others or having conversations, looking after a pet may help them to stay engaged and involved.  

‘I believe that having a pet has helped [my other half] maintain some empathy for another living being. Maybe he’s lost that depth of understanding for me, but he really has an honest loving connection with her and that is really worth keeping.’

Dementia Talking Point community member, Lawson58

Visits from an animal can be an energetic experience or an exciting part of a person’s day. Animals can be a wonderful source of love and laughter for people with dementia. 

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