Fresh funding for therapy that connects dementia patients with animals


The money is being provided by the King Baudouin Foundation, to support initiatives that improve wellbeing and stimulate memories among people with dementia

Positive relationship

Projects that use animal therapy to care for people with dementia have received funding to help them carry out their work.

Contact with dogs and other animals can have a positive effect on the wellbeing of people with dementia: they become calmer and more alert, they laugh more and they seek further contact. To support the efforts of animals trained to take part in this therapy, the King Baudouin Foundation has announced funding for 10 projects, worth a total of €40,000.

Among the projects chosen for support are five in Flanders and two in Brussels, including psychiatric centres and home visitors. Positive interaction between patients and animals is central to this treatment: a key factor in allocating the funding was that the projects must focus on social, verbal and sensorial contact between people and animals to promote cognitive and psycho-emotional wellbeing.

Therapiedier, a non-profit based in Langdorp, Flemish Brabant, will use the funding to support its work with people with early-onset dementia. It visits patients with trained dogs, cats and rabbits and puts interaction with animals at the centre of its free therapy sessions.

Residential care home Paradijs and Huis van het Kind in Lier, Antwerp province, have joined forces to create a place where elderly people with dementia and young children can care for small animals such as rabbit and guinea pigs together. The aim is to stimulate memory among dementia patients and increase their wellbeing.

Photo: CasarsaGuru/Getty Images