By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor
Rick Phelps was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease over two years ago, at the age of 57. About eight months ago, an unexpected caregiver came into his life that changed his world completely.
“Sam’s done more for me than any medication could ever do,” says Rick Phelps, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease over two years ago, at the age of 57. “He’s taken me from a twelve [out of ten] on the anxiety and stress scale, down to a two or three.”
No, Phelps isn’t referring to some world-renowned dementia specialist—in fact, the creature he’s describing doesn’t even walk on two legs.
He’s talking about Sam, a spry one-year-old German Shepard who is part of a new breed of service dog trained to help people suffering from mild to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Prior to his introduction to his canine caregiver, Phelps couldn’t even go shopping at the local Walmart for fear he would get lost and not know which door to use to get out of the store. Now, with Sam at his side, Phelps feels more comfortable embarking on outings.
Canine Caregivers Change The Lives of Alzheimer’s Sufferers originally appeared on AgingCare.com.