Lege Artis Medicinae

[Animal-assisted therapies for the treatment of elderly dementia ]

SOMOGYI Szilvia1

JANUARY 20, 2019

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2019;29(01-02)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33616/lam.29.009

[The therapeutic value of the relationship between humans and animals should be considered in the cases of patients suffering from dementia with the onset in old age. This paper provides an overview of the animal assisted interventions in dementia. Reviews emphasize the positive effects of pet-keeping on mental and physical quality of life. However, it can also have adverse effects unless the pet is selected with caution. Regular animal assisted therapies within institutional framework provide a valuable potential programme for the patients in care. Articles published so far depict the physiological, social and psychological output variables of animal assisted therapies. The enhancement of social behavior is considered to be a specific factor of animal assisted therapies. Among the physiological symptoms the enhanced physical activity, the decrease of stress response and sympathic activation have been highlighted. Among the psychological functions reduction of state anxiety, mood lift and the reduction of negative emotions such as isolation and abandonment should be underlined. Acknowledging the available results, it seems that cognitive efficacy is less impacted directly by animal assisted therapies. However, promising results have been acquired in the alleviation of the behavioural and psychological symptoms related to dementia ]


  1. Semmelweis Egyetem, Pszichiátriai és Pszichoterápiás Klinika



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