The California Aggie | April 2018

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Connected horses connecting people by Kira Burnett

Connected Horse Project works to help dementia patients, caregivers

Dementia affects about 50 million people worldwide, and is expected to reach 82 million in 2030. Unlike other global health priorities, dementia itself is not a disease. It is a term describing symptoms such as a decline in memory and other thinking skills severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for over half of all cases, followed by vascular dementia. It’s a condition with no cure, whose causes are variable and still under research. Those with dementia are not the only ones affected by its symptoms.

“When a loved one is affected with Alzheimer’s disease, it creates a lot of stress on their family, particularly their primary caregiver, which is usually their spouse but can be an adult child or somebody else, even, in the family,” said Dr. Sarah Farias, an associate professor of neurology at UC Davis. “And so one of the aims of the program is to facilitate communication between the person with dementia and the caregiver and then also to help alleviate caregiver stress.”

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