Therapy animals visit Memory Cafe


April 19, 2019

Our Memory Café had some very special visitors this month. Thanks to Therapy Animals of San Antonio, three animal therapy teams were able to join in on the fun.

Animal therapy and socialization
Animal-human interaction has been linked to healthy aging, particularly when it comes to reducing stress, anxiety, and depression (1, 5). Pet therapy can also positively influence mood and behavior in people living with dementia (3, 6). Seniors might feel isolated when living at home, in long-term care facilities, or in nursing homes and therapy animals have shown positive effects on socialization in seniors living in these environments (2). People living with dementia show improved social behaviors with animal therapy such as smiling more often, being more engaged, and speaking more in the presence of a dog (4, 7).

Animal therapy teams at our Memory Café
One of the main goals of the Memory Café is to provide an opportunity for socialization for people living with dementia and family caregivers in a compassionate and inclusive environment. Memory Café members do this by coming together each month to engage in different activities while enjoying coffee and light snacks with each other. The company of others who are experiencing similar circumstances in a safe space can make all the difference for people living with dementia and family caregivers.

This month we had the great fortune of having three therapy teams join us. Memory Café members enjoyed petting the animals and sharing stories and photos of their own pets back at home. Please take time to enjoy the photo slideshow posted below.

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A very special thank you to Therapy Animals of San Antonio and the therapy teams named below. 

  • Malinda Red Cloud and Bonnie
  • Marilyn Kruse and Samson
  • Sandra Olsaver and Maddie

If you would like to join the next Memory Café, please visit our events page for more information.  If you are interested in starting a Memory Café for your community, please contact Sara Masoud (210) 450-8487.

These Memory Cafés are co-hosted by the Caring for the Caregiver program in partnership with Jefferson Outreach. Jefferson Outreach is a local 501-C3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to help seniors maintain healthy, secure and independent lifestyles. For more information call (210) 734-5016.



  1. Colombo, G., Buono, M., Smania, K., Raviola, R., and De Leo, D. (2006) Pet therapy and institutionalized elderly: A study on 144 cognitively unimpaired subjects. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 42(2): 207-216. doi:
  2. Fick, K. (1993) The influence of an animal on social interactions of nursing home residents in a group setting. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47(6): 529-534.
  3. Holthoff, V., Beckmann, A., Gerner, A., Wesenberg, S., Werner, J., Marschner, K., Ohnesorge, M., Koch, R., and Nestmann, F. (2013) Dog-assisted therapy for people with dementia: A randomized, controlled trial. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 9(4): 297. doi:
  4. Kongable LG, Buckwalter KC, Stolley JM (1989) The effects of pet therapy on the social behavior of institutionalized Alzheimer’s clients. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 3(4):191-8.
  5. Moretti, F., De Ronchi, D., Bernabei, V., Marchetti, L., Ferrari, B., Forlani, C. , Negretti, F. , Sacchetti, C. and Atti, A. R. (2011), Pet therapy in elderly patients with mental illness. Psychogeriatrics, 11: 125-129. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8301.2010.00329.x
  6. Motomura, N., Yagi, T. and Ohyama, H. (2004), Animal assisted therapy for people with dementia. Psychogeriatrics, 4: 40-42. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8301.2004.00062.x
  7. Richeson N. E. (2003) Effects of animal-assisted therapy on agitated behaviors and social interactions of older adults with dementia. The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias. 18(6):353–358. doi: 10.1177/153331750301800610.




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