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Animal-assisted interventions: Social work practice for older adults with dementia [Journal of Aging and Long-Term Care]
Journal of Aging and Long-Term Care. 2019; 2(1): 1-11 | DOI: 10.5505/jaltc.2019.21939  

Animal-assisted interventions: Social work practice for older adults with dementia

Yvonne M Eaton-Stull, Adelle M Williams
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Many older persons experience neurocognitive impairments as they age, experiencing cognitive and behavioral symptoms which may cause serious disruptions and lead to residential placements. As there is no cure, these care facilities strive to manage symptoms and provide comfortable and supportive care. Numerous therapeutic approaches have been used to manage cognitive and behavioral disturbances in older persons with dementia with mixed success. Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) are emerging as an innovative therapeutic modality which holds benefit for minimizing distressing behaviors experienced by older persons. Human-animal contact has been shown to positively benefit the quality of life of older adults. Specific research on the use of AAI in social work practice is limited. An exhaustive review of the literature was conducted to summarize relevant research, identify the practice of AAI, and determine implications for social work practitioners who work to enhance the lives of older adults in various settings. This unique article integrates these benefits as they relate to older people with dementia and aims to provide concrete strategies for implementation of animal-assisted interventions.

Keywords: Animal-assisted intervention, animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted crisis response

Yvonne M Eaton-Stull, Adelle M Williams. Animal-assisted interventions: Social work practice for older adults with dementia. Journal of Aging and Long-Term Care. 2019; 2(1): 1-11

Corresponding Author: Yvonne M Eaton-Stull, United States

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