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Positive effect of pets on memory-impaired residents at Silverado communities

By Stephen F. Winner

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The purpose of this paper is to share the positive effects pets have on individuals diagnosed with various memory-impairing diseases.


Observations were gathered over a period of approximately 18 years, from 1996 to 2014. These observations, which began in just one Silverado community exclusively for those with memory impairments, have remained consistent over time and are now seen in 33 communities across the USA.


Frequent interaction and access to various pets adds a sense of purpose and life to Silverado residents, each of whom was diagnosed with dementia or other memory impairing diseases.


The findings rely on a variety of personal observations from caregivers, doctors, nurses, resident families and community leadership.


Including pets in an assisted living community creates an environment filled with life and compassion, which ultimately gives many residents a sense of purpose again.


The Silverado Pet Philosophy furthers the organization's mission to change the way the world perceives and cares for those with memory impairments.


There are limited case studies that outline the positive effects of pets in a memory care community over this length of time.
Date 2014
Publication Title Working with Older People
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 134–141
ISBN/ISSN 1366-3666
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
DOI 10.1108/WWOP-05-2014-0012
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Alzheimer disease
  2. Animal-assisted activities
  3. Animal-assisted therapies
  4. Assisted living facilities
  5. Dementia
  6. Mammals
  7. Memory
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. Quality of life