Woman’s search leads to new book on animal assisted therapy for Alzheimer’s

With over 10 years of experience as an Animal Assisted Therapy Team, and faced with a mom diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Pam Osbourne searched high and low for a book that could shed light on what impact the former might have on the latter. But she found nothing.

“I decided that since my dog Rufus and I had experienced so much joy working with my mom and her friends at the memory care unit at Villa St. Benedict in Lisle, I would write the book that I was unable to find,” said Osbourne.

The result is “Connections, Animal Assisted Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias” (ADRD), a practical guide for healthcare professionals, Animal Assisted Therapy teams, caregivers, families, friends, etc. who are dedicated to helping those with ADRD reconnect with the world.

It is also a personal account of the author’s vicarious journey into the disoriented, disconnected and often frustrating world of ADRD via her mother who was affected by the disease the last seven years of her life. Initially failing to recognize the symptoms, then finding ways to help her mom, if only in the moment, Osbourne enlisted the help of her therapy dog, a loveable Jack Russell Terrier named Rufus.

This informative book is filled with over 150 photos, and over 40 functional activities that are easily understandable to anyone who is interested in using Animal Assisted Therapy to improve the quality of life for someone affected by ADRD. From simply providing companionship, to encouraging motor skills and social interactions, Rufus and his therapy dog friends demonstrate the positive effects of Animal Assisted Therapy. A must read for those in contact with anyone who is touched by ADRD.

Available on Amazon.com. Hardbound and e-book editions will be available soon.

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