Effect of animal-assisted activity on balance and quality of life in home-dwelling persons with dementia

Christine Olsen*, Ingeborg Pedersen, Astrid Bergland, Marie-José Enders-Slegers, Camilla Ihlebæk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of the study was to examine if animal-assisted activity with a dog (AAA) in home-dwelling persons with dementia (PWDs) attending day-care centers would have an effect on factors related to risk of fall accidents, with balance (Berg balance scale) and quality of life (Quality of Life in Late-stage Dementia) as main outcome. The project was conducted as a prospective and cluster-randomized multicenter trial with a follow-up. 16 adapted day-care centers recruited respectively 42 (intervention group) and 38 (control group with treatment as usual) home-dwelling PWDs. The intervention consisted of 30 min sessions with AAA led by a qualified dog handler twice a week for 12 weeks in groups of 3–7 participants. The significant positive effect on balance indicates that AAA might work as a multifactorial intervention in dementia care and have useful clinical implication by affecting risk of fall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-291
Number of pages8
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016



  • Adult Day Care Centers
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animal Assisted Therapy/methods
  • Animals
  • Dementia/therapy
  • Depression/prevention & control
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living/psychology
  • Male
  • Quality of Life/psychology

Cite this