We didn’t think we’d have another cat, once our daughter went off to school and hers had passed away. However, when we brought Mother to our home from hers 275 miles away, hubby Jim suggested we bring her cat, too, instead of trying to find another home for it.
This proved a great help in getting Mother readjusted to being away from the home where she had lived for many years. It took the cat longer to get adjusted than Mother, but finally she accepted our home.
Pet therapy often is beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. Sometimes it’s their own pet, sometimes a new pet, and often a visiting pet…especially in a nursing home. Nowadays a number of cats and dogs are trained as therapy pets who visit assisted living and nursing homes.
Read more about this topic at Minding Our Elders.
In response to a question from a reader, regarding bird watching and Alzheimer’s, I began looking into the topic a bit more.
According to this article, Pet Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients, bird watching and looking at aquariums appear to have positive results. Also, Purdue University apparently has done some research into this.
This article on Therapeutic Activities mentions bird watching along with gardening or being involved in gardens as being soothing and calming.
When my mom was in the nursing home, they had a bird feeder outside the activity room window for a time. At another nursing home, where I was giving a talk, they had bird cages, where the residents could watch, as well as listen to the birds.