A PIONEERING ‘animal therapy’ charity in a Costa Blanca town has launched its first session by bringing trained dogs into an elderly Day Centre.

Thanks to a grant from the La Caixa bank social fund, new association ASISCAN, based in Jávea (Alicante province) has started two weekly sessions at the centre, mainly treating users with dementia or who are physically disabled due to old age and spend a lot of time alone.

Those who lead a lonely existence are finding comfort from the dogs’ presence, since stroking an animal creates peace and tranquilility – and spending time with the pets helps them to feel ‘useful’, ASISCAN explains.

As well as the emotional side, the association says its trained dogs bring huge benefits on the cognitive front – elderly Day Centre users with Alzheimer’s or severe dementia and find it difficult or impossible to communicate normally with other humans are able to connect to the world and to reality through their communication with the dogs.
A grant of €10,000 has been given to ASISCAN by La Caixa’s social foundation to cover the association’s costs, such as training the animals.

Elderly Day Centre visitors are just one of the areas ASISCAN hopes to work in – plans are afoot for therapeutic sessions with other types of vulnerable residents, including the sick and disabled, adults and children with psychological problems, and teaching new skills to the mentally-handicapped.

This is the first ‘animal therapy’ scheme to be launched on the Costa Blanca and one of very few in Spain, and ASISCAN is an entirely non-profit society

source:  www.thinkspain.com

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