Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Aaron Bonsall, PhD, OTR/L
Studies show that animal-assisted therapy modalities have an effect on motivation for participation, behavioral or psychosocial regulation, and physical and cognitive functions in individuals with dementia. Dementia is a progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects cognition and memory. As the disease progresses, skills needed to participate in activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), community engagement and socialization decrease, making maximal independence more difficult. The Pet Pals Program provides educational and teaching concepts to volunteers and their pets to provide friendly pet visits to those in the memory support units. The program emphasizes the benefits of community engagement and purposeful occupations to the volunteers. Methods: Program development consisted of creating a manualized intervention and program implementation phases. The manual consists of information regarding dementia population, animal-assisted therapy, testing and certification process, and examples of activities to do during visits. Program implementation provides the steps taken to gather volunteers for the program, information and activities taught during visits, and other valuable information regarding program specifics that are tailored to the volunteers’ needs.
Odell, Kelsey, "Pet Pals Program: Experiences of Volunteer Residents Providing Friendly Pet Visits to Individuals in a Memory Support Unit" (2020). OT Student Capstones. 37.