Assisted living centers are a common destination for many seniors with Alzheimer's. At these centers, they will receive care and even treatment for their condition, including the use of pet therapy. If your loved one has a pet and is suffering from Alzheimer's, it's worth knowing how assisted living centers are willing to help with this treatment.
How Can A Beloved Pet Help Those With Alzheimer's?
People bond with their pets heavily, especially ones they've owned for years. Seniors tend to bond with their pets especially strongly, as they often form a last bond or serve as a companion that won't let them down. However, pet therapy actually helps those with Alzheimer's in a variety of ways:
Early on in your senior's Alzheimer's care, they will likely be stable and interact with the pet in a positive way. This can build memories that can last through hard times, such as during a fit of anger, a mood swing caused by Alzheimer's, and the transition into an assisted living situation.
Do Assisted Living Centers Allow Pets?
If your loved one's Alzheimer's isn't very severe yet, they may be able to stay at home and enjoy their pet. It might even be worth picking them up a new pet if they don't already own one. As their disease progresses, however, it might be necessary to transition to in-home assisted living and even to take them to an assisted living center.
Thankfully, most of these centers will be willing to let residents bring in their pets, as long as the senior can care for them. Even if the center your loved one attends doesn't allow pets, they might let you schedule pet therapy sessions. These sessions bring in pets who are trained to provide companionship to those who are suffering from physical and mental health concerns.
Can A Senior With Alzheimer's Care For A Pet?
If your senior takes their pet to their assisted living center, they are going to have to be able to provide for its basic needs. Early in the progression of Alzheimer's, they should be able to handle feeding the pet and managing their bathroom needs. If they are unable to handle those needs, there's a chance that their pet will have to be taken from them.
This can be a very heart-breaking situation to witness. It's best to be there for your loved one and to take the pet into your care, if possible. In that way, you can bring them to the center to visit. You'll be surprised at how quickly a beloved pet can break a loved one's silence and add a little joy to their lives.
Helping your loved one manage their Alzheimer's systems through pet therapy at their assisted living center requires focus and a lot of love. At some point, they may express disinterest in the pet or ask them to be taken away. Don't let this discourage you from bringing the pet to visit them, as you never know when they may change their minds.
For more information, talk to a professional like Hilltop House Assisted Living.
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