Service Dogs For Dementia

The role of the service dog has expanded immensely over the last decades. Previously these dogs were only used to help with the blind, but now service dogs have been trained to help with everything from hearing to mobility. Service dogs are now used for dementia assistance, helping patients with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia with astonishing results. Dementia dogs are trained to remind owners where their clothes are, which medicines they should take, and even raise an alarm in case of an emergency.
“Dogs love routine,” said Helen McCain of Dogs for the Disabled. By using this quality, trainers can teach the dog to actually remind people by the sound of an alarm to go and get medication at an allotted time of the day.
The idea to train dogs to help with dementia was the idea of Scotland’s Glasgow School of Art. Dogs have now been working with owners in Scotland for the last 4 months showing positive results.
Two dogs, Oscar, a golden retriever working with Maureen Benham, and Kaspa a Labrador working with Ken Will, have shown positive results. Ken Will who was diagnosed with dementia about 3 years ago said “Kaspa has totally given us our lives back.” Oscar’s owner Maureen Benham said, “Before we had the dog, I did get frustrated. But the dog acts as a buffer between you. If it works out, it will be a normal thing for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to have a dog. I think it will be a fantastic achievement.”



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