Dogs 4 Dementia pilot expands to five states

Couples across five states who are beginning the journey of life at home with dementia now have the opportunity to access a specially trained assistance dog as part of an Australian-first pilot project.

Director of the Dementia Centre, Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, said the Dogs 4 Dementia project was expected to bring significant benefits to people living with dementia at home with a carer.HammondCare Dementia Centre’s Dogs 4 Dementia was first launched in NSW and Victoria in April 2015 by the then Assistant Minister for Social Services Senator Mitch Fifield but has now been expanded to South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

“For the first time in Australia we’ll see expert Dementia Centre consultants working together with Assistance Dogs Australia instructors to place dogs with couples, at a time when a diagnosis of dementia may have just been received.

“Each couple and dog will be carefully matched and will be supported by both organisations for the duration of the pilot.

“Preliminary results from an overseas study show that the presence of the specially trained dogs can help support the person with dementia and carer, extending their capacity to live at home.

“Reduced hospitalisation and delayed admission to residential aged care are possible outcomes we will be evaluating as well as the positive impact these beautiful dogs can have on the care-giving relationship and carer wellbeing.”

Assistance Dogs Australia’s Top Dog, Richard Lord said, “Assistance Dogs Australia is enjoying working closely with HammondCare in this ground breaking project.

“We know that our experience in providing service dogs for people with physical disabilities, children with autism and for those suffering from PTSD will hold us in good stead when working with the participants in the project.”

People living at home with dementia and their carers are invited to express interest in participating in the pilot and if a dog is placed with them, it is hoped the dog will become a long-term part of their lives. The first dogs are expected to be placed with couples in October.

Please contact Dogs 4 Dementia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the Dementia Centre on 02 8437 7355. For more information visit www.dogs4dementia.com.au