Highline Place Memory Care in Littleton, Colorado recently had a visit from Pippi the pig, a resident from one of their favorite local organizations, Hog Haven Farm.
First a bit about Hog Haven. It is a non-profit rescue farm for potbelly pigs which has been operating since 2014. So far, they’ve rescued 100 pigs from situations of abandonment, neglect and slaughter. So, kudos to the dedicated team at Hog Haven.
What’s amazing about these visits, according to the staff at Highline Place, is to observe the interest and expressions of joy these potbelly pigs bring to individuals with dementia. Animal Planet recently brought their cameras in to cover the Hog Haven visit to Highline Place. The video of the broadcast shows residents delighting in petting and feeding the pig, who appears more than happy to accept their carrots. When you look closely at the video (which you can watch here), you can see the faces of the residents light up as the pig “makes the rounds”, lapping up all the attention.
Why are these visits so important? Elle Fore, Activities Director for Highline Place, explains that individuals with dementia tend to, as she refers to it “lose time backwards”, meaning that their clearest memories are often their earlier ones. Some of the most vivid early memories often involve time spent playing with favorite pets. Bringing animals to visit, therefore reawakens those memories and brings a sense of joy to the residents as they re-connect to a pleasurable part of their earlier life.
At Anthem Memory Care, we recognize the benefit that animals bring to our residents. That is why, through local partnerships, we regularly bring well-behaved animals into our communities for visits. As most of us know, animals have a unique ability to engage, sooth and calm both the young and the old. And it is always a joy to witness.