Observe a Fish Tank

Goldfish Splashing in Tank


Pet therapy is a relatively well-known way to help stimulate the minds as well as reducing anxiety for people with memory loss.  However, most studies focus on dogs or cats, not our finned friends.  However, there is one study, done by Purdue in 1999, that did suggest that exposing people with memory loss to an aquarium filled with colorful fish had a positive impact on their behavior, including increased food consumption at meals and decreased anxiety and agitation.  You can read the study’s summary here.   Observing an aquarium is a great activity for people in the moderate to late stages of the dementia  who may be experiencing difficulty doing even simple crafts or communicating verbally.  The movement of the colorful naturally draw the eye to them, and their continued movement and interactions between multiple fish can help keep attention on them.  A fish tank can be a great conversation starter for visiting friends or family who may not know what to talk about with the person, and for those who can, feeding the fish is a rewarding “chore” that helps maintain the dignity of worth of the person by giving them a sense of purpose and responsibility (just be sure that the fish aren’t overfed/underfed).  I’m not a fish expert , so I won’t pretend to be able to tell you what type of aquarium or fish is best for this purpose.  However, I can tell you that bright, large(r) fish that are easy to see are probably a good bet, as is a tank that won’t be too much effort to maintain (you probably have enough to do already).  Some aquarium landscaping for the fish to interact with is also a good idea, but make sure the fish are still easily visible to older eyes.

Betta fish, the brightly colored fish you often see in small tupperware-like containers at Wal-Mart of fish stores are great color wise, but it’s not recommended to house male bettas with other male or females of the same species because of their propensity to fight, often to the death (hence the individual tupperware bowls).  Female betta fish may fight other female betta fish, but per Wikipedia may be able to be housed together if there are adequate “hiding spaces” for the less dominant fish to retreat to.  Large, colorful goldfish can be bought in groups, which can make watching them more interesting, but may not be super-hardy.  Snails are just fun to watch.  Again, I have no official fish knowledge, so please consult an expert before you get youself into anything too expensive or risk animal cruelty charges

1 Comment »

  1. I’ll have to come back once more whenever my program load lets up nevertheless I am obtaining your Rss feed so i can read your internet site offline. Thanks.

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