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What Are the Benefits of Pet Ownership and Care Among People With Mild-to-Moderate Dementia? Findings From the IDEAL

Opdebeeck, C and Katsaris, MA and Martyr, A and Lamont, RA and Pickett, JA and Rippon, I and Thom, JM and Victor, C and Clare, L (2020) What Are the Benefits of Pet Ownership and Care Among People With Mild-to-Moderate Dementia? Findings From the IDEAL. Journal of Applied Gerontology. ISSN 0733-4648

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Abstract

© The Author(s) 2020. Pet ownership has been associated with positive outcomes in many populations, yet the associations with physical and psychological wellbeing in people with dementia remain unclear. The current study used baseline data from 1,542 people living at home with mild-to-moderate dementia from the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) programme. Regression analyses investigated associations of pet ownership and pet care with self-reports of walking, loneliness, depression, and quality of life (QoL). After adjusting for covariates, having any pet was associated with higher likelihood of walking over 3 hr in the last week. Those with a dog and who were involved in its care were less likely to be lonely than those with no dog. Having any pet but no involvement in its care was associated with increased depression and decreased QoL compared with those without a pet. The key factor in the associations was involvement in the care of the pet by the person with dementia.

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