Dementia Assistance Dog - Evidence and Learning
In 2016, the Life Changes Trust provided funding for the Dementia Dog project, to expand on their work in Scotland.
The assistance dogs funded by the Trust are still helping families live safely at home, be part of their own communities and feel more resilient to the daily challenges associated with living with dementia.
In October 2020, the Life Changes Trust hosted an online webinar ‘Dementia: A Whole Life Approach – Dementia Dog Learning Event’ where we examined the findings of an independent evaluation of the dementia dog project, with a report produced by HammondCare.
During the webinar, we also looked at the journey of the dogs, from when they were puppies, through training and finally being matched with their families in their new forever homes.
Finally, we looked to the future, with some recommendations for the future development of the dementia dog project, based on the evidence in the report on the long term, positive impact owning a dementia assistance dog can have on a family living with dementia.
As part of our webinar, we also spoke in depth with two families who have dementia assistance dogs, Anne and Henry Rankin, who are the proud owners of Uno, and Jeanette King, also on behalf of her husband Jon King, who have the wonderful Lenny.
Both families spoke compellingly and tangibly about how their lives had improved since having a dementia assistance dog. Having a dog as part of the family provided support for the person living with dementia to feel more confident and part of their own community, as well as providing help with daily tasks such as reminders to take medication and dressing.
The dementia assistance dog also supported the partner of the person with dementia, giving them more independence and peace of mind, knowing that their loved one was safe. There were also health and well-being benefits that came with having to walk a dog, as well as creating a social bridge with others in the community.
For both families, there was clearly a broad range of benefits (both obvious and more subtle) and positive impacts through having a dementia assistance dog.
You can watch the full webinar below....
Or you can watch the individual interviews with Henry & Anne Rankin, and Jeanette King, below.
Interview with Henry and Anne Rankin
Interview with Jeanette King