Farming Therapy Program Provides Support for Persons with Dementia
Two brothers from England have created a farming therapy program as a source of support and care for persons living with dementia.
Lee Pearse and his brother Andrew started their initiative, Farming Comes to You, in response to caring for their mother who had FTD. After their mother died in 2015, the pair created Farming Comes to You when they noticed that there weren’t many services specially for people with dementia living in the U.K. The program consists of volunteers taking animals like goats, guinea pig, and ducks into local nursing homes.
“There has massively been an increase in demand for animal therapy. In regards to agitation, wandering and pacing and those types of very upsetting symptoms to experience, including those with dementia, animals have a huge impact,” Lee Pearse said in an article published in the Yorkshire Post.
He continued, saying that “the animals act as a vehicle for a different type of communication with an individual — whether that is the family, loved ones, or carers. It can get quite hard to communicate with someone with dementia especially in the later stages and sometimes something different that isn’t the norm can open up a door of immense therapeutic qualities for everybody involved.”
Since the program’s inception, the project has expanded into more than 20 care homes across Sheffield, England, benefiting more than 600 persons diagnosed with dementia. Lucy Dean, a medical student who recently helped with initiative, shared in the article the “astonishing” benefits of animal therapy for one person with dementia under her care.
“I remember her being a bit withdrawn and quiet, but the minute she sat down and a guinea pig was placed on her lap and the goats were let out to roam around her, she just came to life,” Dean said. “She started chatting to me freely about her life and singing to me all these songs that she knew from her childhood, and it really just showed how calming the effect of animals can be on people.”
Read the full Yorkshire Post article here.