THIS year, Mayhew’s animal therapy programme, TheraPaws, which visits care homes, hospices, day centres and hospitals to engage and interact with older people across London, is marking the 6th global World Alzheimer’s Month with visits from the gorgeous TheraPaws dogs.
World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign that happens every September, trying to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.
TheraPaws recognises the mutual benefits of animals engaging with people, particularly those with dementia, by helping to reduce stress, anxiety, social isolation and unlocking memories and emotions. It also helps to improve the relationships between humans and dogs.
At present, TheraPaws visits over 40 different venues across 11 boroughs in London including Kensington and Chelsea, Brent, Haringey, and Westminster. With over 50 teams of humans and dogs devoting their time to the scheme, they are determined to make a difference and improve the lives of many people.
This week (September 11th), one of the TheraPaws volunteers, Aurélie, with her Instagram famous dog, Marcel Le Corgi, visited University Hospital Lewisham to raise awareness of World Alzheimer’s Month and spend time with patients there.
When they arrived at the hospital all attention gravitated towards the TheraPaws team and Marcel was quickly lavished with praise, cuddles and tons of love from a variety of different people they met.
TheraPaws volunteers can see the benefits and how worthwhile it is taking their dogs on these visits, having witnessed first-hand the positive impact that it has on the patients and residents from the way they become more alert to the smile that spreads across their faces when they enter a room. It gives patients and residents something to look forward to, encourages them out of their beds and sparks conversation, which can lead to unlocking memories and emotions.
Ginnie Adamson, Dementia Specialist Nurse at University Hospital Lewisham, said: “Mayhew’s TheraPaws programme is a brilliant initiative and a great way for us to raise awareness of World Alzheimer’s Month.”
“Animals have such a positive impact on many of the patients. As well as being a welcome distraction, dogs have the ability to lower anxiety and stress levels and instantly improve your mood.”
Luke Berman, TheraPaws Project Manager, added: “It was a fantastic day and Aurélie and Marcel really enjoyed meeting and interacting with so many patients and staff members.”
“Our TheraPaws programme is a great way to raise awareness of dementia. As well as enhancing people’s lives by helping to reduce social isolation, stress, and unlocking memories and emotions, the initiative also helps animals by raising awareness of the positive effects dogs can have, including promoting respect and compassion towards animals.”
To find out more about TheraPaws, then please visit their website or call 020 8962 8004. They rely entirely on generous donations from the public and don’t receive any lottery or government funding. To donate, please visit www.themayhew.org/donate