Service dogs are typically thought of as necessary companions for the visually impaired, but service and therapy dogs can be a practical solution for people with a variety of chronic illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease.
As well as being a trusted friend, service dogs can expand owners’ motor abilities, granting them new independence and allowing them to get more out of life. Here are just a few benefits of having a service dog, according to healthfitnessrevolution.com, mira.ca, the Lung Institute, and rover.com.
Service dogs can be trained to pull wheelchairs and to help wheelchairs up ramps and onto sidewalks. They can also help their owner move in and out of the wheelchair.
Having a chronic illness can bring about many emotional and mental health problems. The calming nature of service and therapy dogs can help ease anxiety and petting dogs is known to release endorphins and reduce stress.
Service dogs can help Alzheimer’s disease patients by picking up dropped items and fetching items from other rooms, a vital service for someone who may find getting around and bending difficult and painful.
Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
There is evidence that stroking a dog and sitting next to a dog lowers blood pressure and heart rate. The soothing effects of their body heat may also help with pain relief.
Walking with a service dog can help people with Alzheimer’s disease who have trouble with their balance. The dogs can also help prop their owners in place to prevent falls.
Looking after a service dog gives people something to focus on other than their illness. It can help Alzheimer’s patients develop positive routines and force them to get up and go out.
Service dogs, like all dogs, need exercise, so having a service dog encourages owners to get some exercise each day. The dogs will also be able to guide Alzheimer’s patients home if they become unsure of where they are.
If you need help but are unable to draw attention yourself, your service dog will be able to bark loudly to attract attention from passersby or neighbors.
Dogs have been known to help promote communication and often prompt conversation from strangers when out and about, which can help overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Help Around the House
Therapy dogs are able to help people around the house with simple tasks such as answering the doorbell, retrieving medication, opening and closing doors, and switching lights on and off.
Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.