Trained dogs to help people who have dementia
DementiaDog is a charity supported by Alzheimer’s Scotland that trains dogs to help people living with dementia.
The dementia dogs are trained to help people in many ways. This could be by maintaining fitness through walking. Providing reminders about eating & taking medications or by providing them with a companion to care for.
Trained dogs help people living with dementia
We’re used to the idea of dogs being used to help people with certain medical or physical conditions. For example seizure alert dogs help warn people with epilepsy of an impending fit and guide dogs help give confidence and support back to the blind.
Now DementiaDog.org in partnership with Alzheimer’s Scotland, aims to do the same by training dogs for people living with dementia.
The training facility aims to train dogs to respond to their owners needs. This helps them to live a more independent life.
Some of those living with dementia may have owned a dog in the past. Or they could be looking for a way to help them manage their condition more successfully. Dogs for dementia is aimed at these people. The dogs are trained to help people with memory problems and cognitive impairment.
Having a dog companion can boost the confidence of someone with memory loss such as Alzheimer’s. This disease can make a person feel unsure and uncertain of their surroundings especially if they are new.
It is hoped that dementia dogs, as they will be called, can help sufferers of the disease live a better life that is far more fulfilling.
Dogs for Dementia Pilot Project
October 2012 saw the first pilot project take place. This project is at its very early stages, but the idea is that dogs will be trained to assist owners with dementia.
Once the training is complete, each dog will be matched to the most suitable owner. This will happen in much the same way as other dogs are matched with owners who have restricted sight or epilepsy.
The Dementia Dog website certainly has interesting potential for the future. It is hard to imagine how the life of someone could be transformed in this way, when we have no previous information to go on.
The potential is huge, and the site has many stories of people who have seen dogs interact with others who have dementia with excellent results.
The scheme is all about improving the lives of those who have the condition and the early signs are good.
The dogs for dementia project could be just as valuable for memory loss sufferers as Guide Dogs for the Blind is for those with poor or no sight.
The year-long pilot scheme follows on from extensive research, and many people are hoping it will be a huge success.
Given the information we already have, the potential is indeed very good.
If you would like to know more about how the project works. Available jobs or how to raise funds for the charity please visit their website www.dementiadog.org
Update. In June 2017 the Dementiadog charity received a significant grant from the National-Lottery to keep up the great work that they do.