ECL customers enjoy some pet therapy

ECL recently welcomed Performing Pets to three of our older people day centres as part of our pet therapy programme for people living with dementia.

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Older female kissing a dachshund puppy on the side of its head.

ECL Day Opportunities centres in Loughton, Chelmsford, and Colchester were lucky enough to have a visit from a range of loveable pets including dachshund puppies, rabbits, and budgies. The customers loved the cuddles and interaction with the animals and are looking forward to their next visit.

Many of the customers were so taken with the animals that they wanted to take them home. Peter, a customer at ECL Loughton, said: “I love animals, I’d take one home, but I don’t think my cat would like it!”

Rose, who is also a customer at ECL Loughton, said: “They made me so happy, I felt needed and loved. I love looking after people and animals. I want one!”

Pet therapy or Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been found to be effective at improving cognitive function and can have a calming effect on the emotions of older adults with dementia.

Katie Craig, Team Leader, ECL Colchester said “Even our higher need customers that require one to one support came into the room to interact with the puppies and budgies. One customer said it reminded her of a family pet she had when her children lived at home. This sparked memories and a reminiscing discussion among the group which was really beneficial for them.”

Pet therapy at ECL day centres is one of a range of holistic therapies used as part of our innovative approach to dementia care. Other techniques include doll therapy and the use of massage and relaxation techniques to help alleviate the feelings of stress and anxiety often experienced by people with dementia.

Find out more about how ECL supports older people with dementia.

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