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"Bacon" helping Alaskans diagnosed with Alzheimer's

 Bacon the pig provides therapy for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's
Bacon the pig provides therapy for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's (KTUU)
Published: Dec. 13, 2016 at 9:52 AM AKST
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A pig named Bacon is helping people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Anchorage.

Bacon "works" at the Turnagain Social Club where she provides a sensory experience for members there. Turnagain Social Club is a senior center, open Monday through Friday, specializing in Alzheimer's care. The facility provides social, mental and physical stimulation exercise, games and various sensory rooms. It also provides Bacon the pig.

"Clients love her and she's a vacuum cleaner," says R.N. Koreen Mateaki, president of Turnagain Social Club.

The Alzheimer's resource of Alaska says more than 8,000 Alaskan's are living with the disease or related dementias.

"Adult day programs provide that support but they also provide social stimulation," says Pamela Kelley, Education Director of The Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska. "Just because somebody has dementia doesn't mean they cease to need to social connection."

Kelley says The Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska does not suggest, or endorse, certain programs for individuals, but instead suggests people directly check out a place for their loved ones.

"Do a lot of research," says Kelley. "Decide what they're hoping to find in terms of an adult day program, and they need to be on the ground and look at not only one but a variety of places."

Adult day programs are just one option for care for people facing Alzheimer's disease or related dementias.