Dementia dogs Billy and Quill visited Murray Royal Hospital last week for an information session run by staff from the Dementia Dog project.
Staff from Perth & Kinross older people’s community mental health teams, inpatient wards, occupational therapy and Alzheimer Scotland attended the session to learn more about a new community dog pilot programme.
Billy and Quill can visit people living with mild-moderate dementia and support them to achieve a specific goal which is agreed and planned with the person.
Over a planned number of weeks the dog visits the person and their supporter with handler Carla Mounsey to help build confidence, reduce any anxiety and provide motivation around achieving their goal.
The approach helps people who may be struggling with a life transition, feel socially isolated or lack confidence or independence in their daily routine.
Dementia Dogs is a Scotland-wide initiative which works in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland and the Dogs for Good charity to train assistance dogs to work with people who are living with dementia and their carers.
There are now eight full-time assistance dogs placed permanently with couples in their homes across Scotland where one person is living with dementia in early – mid stage and the other is their full time carer.
As well as organising therapy events at dementia resource centres, the Dementia Dog project is currently piloting and evaluating the community dog programme.
The team at Dementia Dogs is keen to talk to any professionals about referrals for people who may benefit from this service.