How Pets Help With Alzheimers Disease?

Alzheimers Disease

1. What is Alzheimers disease?

If you ever heard about dementia, this might be easy for you to understand. Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia. I have come across many people who tend to have early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. However, unless it’s been diagnosed, you can’t declare someone as a patient of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

It’s sort of a pregressive disease where patients start to forget little details initially and at some point, they might start to stammer. To make it a little more clear, in medical terms Alzheimers disease refers to memory loss. This disease involves the parts of the brain that control memory, thought, and language!  At first, the memory loss might be mild but it may result in a complete memory loss and sometimes patients with Alzheimers disease find it very hard to carry out day-to-day activities.

2. Causes of Alzheimers disease

However, the actual cause has not been discovered yet but there are some facts and figures you might want to know about Alzheimer’s disease. According to scientists, there are many factors that can affect each person differently.

  • Research says; genetics may play a prominent role in developing Alzheimer’s disease but a healthy lifestyle may help you to reduce the risk of having this disease.
  • However, you can not notice it but changes in the brain might begin long before the first symptom appears.
  • Age is the most obvious and known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease

3. Who is the target of Alzheimers disease?

Let’s talk about the people who might get this disease. A study of 2020 shows that approximately 5.8 millions of Americans had Alzheimers disease. As compared to aged people, youth is less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.

It doubles the number of Alzheimer’s patients every five years beyond age 65 and it is said to have increased nearly triple to 14 millions by the year of 2060.

4. Symptoms of Alzheimers disease

Don’t assume you have Alzheimers disease unless you are 60 because the actual symptoms might appear after 60. The more the age, the more the risk. Memory loss isn’t a normal part of life or aging so if you think it is, you need to reconsider it and make your facts clear about dementia or Alzheimers disease. Following are the symptoms of Alzheimers disease.

  • Memory loss that makes your day to say life hard such as losing a sense of direction, getting lost in a familiar place, repeating the same questions
  • Having trouble in handling money or bills
  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Misplacing things and having a hard time or completely unable to find them
  • Decreased judgment
  • Difficulty in completing simple or familiar tasks

There are a lot of things you can do if you suspect Alzheimers disease. The first and foremost thing is to get yourself checked by a healthcare provider who can help you to determine if the symptoms you are having are related to Alzheimer’s or not! It might be just a vitamin deficiency or side effect from a medication.

The main thing you should definitely not do is to look up google for any sort of recommendation or test because here’s the thing, ‘everything on Google is not true.’

Little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

There are many things you can do to cope with Alzheimers disease but the most affecting thing is to get pet therapy. And I am not even kidding. Before getting into any further details, let’s get to know about pet therapy so it might be easy for you to understand it completely.

5. What is pet therapy?

Pet therapy is basically a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal that involves the animal’s handler. The main purpose of pet therapy is to help patients with mental disorders or health problems.

Alzheimers disease

Initially people used to have cats and dogs for this therapy but today fish, guinea pigs, horses, and other animals that meet screening criteria can also be used.

6. Benefits of pet therapy!

As we all know that the bond of animals and humans is pre-existing, this therapy helps people to cherish that bond. Pet therapy rebuilds animal-human bond. Even if you think about just a normal domestic cat you have, it helps you to reduce stress in a matter of seconds. So if you interact with a friendly pet, it can help you in every sense. No matter if you are having a hard time in your office or in a normal life, pets help to reduce blood pressure, and improve your overall cardiovascular health.

There is this cute hormone called endorphin that helps you release stress and increase the feeling of pleasure or happiness. Pets help you to reduce endorphins so the stress can be reduced. Other than that,

  • Pet therapy makes you happy
  • It improves your thoughts about life
  • It lessens depression
  • It reduces anxiety
  • Also helps in boredom. Getting bored? Get a pet!
Alzheimers disease

7 How can pets help with Alzheimers disease?

Let me bring you back to the actual topic that is Alzheimer’s. Now the question is how can pets or pet therapy help with Alzheimers disease? As I said above, pets help you cope with mental disorders. So I don’t want to make it more lengthy for you, therefore; I am going to break out these benefits into simple points so you can understand it more easily! Here you go;

  • Pet therapy helps in emotional support against Alzheimers disease. When you develop a bond of attachment with a pet you stop isolating yourself. Because you have to take care of a pet too.
  • It helps you to be active and present intellectually too. In some cases, encounters with the animal might bring back the memories of your old pets that are no longer with you. You have to be cognitive about the pet’s name, his likes and dislikes.
  • Let’s talk about psychological help. When a patient of Alzheimers disease has sessions, their attention is directed towards the pet. And that helps the patients not to get anxious or restless during a session.
  • Taking a pet to walk also helps you physically. According to a study; ‘Some patients with more severe impairments will benefit from visual, tactile and auditory stimulation by being with the animal.’

8. What does study say about pet therapy?

Now let’s see what does study or researchers have to say about pet therapy for Alzheimers disease.

Researchers suggest that animals are good for us in every sense. All the above statements I made are actually true about pet therapy. This therapy not only helps with Alzheimers disease but in some cases it might help with severe depression or suicidal thoughts too. It helps you in reducing the stress hormone cortisol, and boosting levels of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. You might have come across many pet owners. They are never depressed, they don’t isolate themselves and make sure their pet is getting better care. These people are less likely to have such diseases. Because animal’s love is unconditional. They accept us for who we are, without any judgment. And when you spend some quality time with a pet, it helps you to be happy and relaxed.

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About Sandra Foy