A new canine form of assistance may be the future of helping people deal with dementia.
'Dementia dogs' can remind their owners to wake up in the morning and take their medicine, help guide them , and even raise an alarm in emergencies, according to Eleanor Bradford, BBC Scotland's health correspondent.
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Dementia sufferer Maureen Benham, aged 69 from Arbroath, with her husband Frank Benham and Oscar the Labrador.
“Dogs love routine. They love that predictability,” Helen McCain of Dogs for the Disabled told BBC News when the idea was first introduced. “By using that hook, we can then teach the dog to actually sort of remind people by the sound of an alarm to go and get the medication at the allotted time of the day.”
According to Bradford, students at the Glasgow School of Art came up with the idea, and, with the help of Alzheimer Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled, and Guide Dogs Scotland, two dogs received 18 months of training.
Oscar, a golden retriever, and Kaspa, a Labrador, have now been working with their new owners in Scotland for the last 4 months.
Kaspa helps out Ken Will, 79, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia about 3 years ago, according to the Herald.
“Kaspa has totally given us our lives back,” Will’s wife, Glenys told The Herald. “Ken is much happier because he’s got the dog and we can go out now ... We can even go on holidays. We are a lot more relaxed since the dog came because if Ken gets in a mood and angry, the dog comes and nudges him and he forgets his problems.”
Oscar, meanwhile, has been supporting Maureen Benham.
"Before we had the dog, I did get frustrated," her husband, Frank, told BBC News. "But the dog acts as a buffer between you. If it works out and eventually, down the line, it will be a normal thing for people with Alzheimer's or dementia to have a dog. I think it will be a fantastic achievement."