Wellness Care Farm

Julie Casey MSW, RSW

Nourishing Hearts

Farm Animal Assisted Therapy & Dementia

The Research Partners


An exploratory Animal Assisted Intervention study was conducted employing farm animals with individuals living with dementia living in a residential environment to assess if the intervention had any impact on behaviour. Fifteen individuals met the eligibility criteria but only 10 were able to participate in more than 67% of the sessions that consisted of petting, grooming and walking the animals; singing animal related songs, learning about the animal's history, species and breed; training the animal; reminiscing about past human-animal interactions and relationships; and reflecting on the animal’s behaviours and story in relation to their own self. Individuals engaged in three one hour sessions for each of eight weeks. Outcomes were either positive or neutral with increased restful sleeping, decreases in verbally aggressive behaviour and depression and being less resistive to care was documented. The outcomes were sufficient to warrant a larger scale investigation working with farm animals and this population.

This research study is published in The International Journal of Social Work and Human Service Practices  http://www.hrpub.org/download/20180430/IJRH3-19211021.pdf

This research has also been featured in the Ontario Long Term Care Association's magazine Long Term Care Today Spring/Summer 2018 edition (Page 40)  https://www.mediaedgemagazines.com/the-ontario-long-term-care-association-oltca/ol81/