4.11.14: Bettina van Hoven

Animal assisted activities in nursing homes: a dog-centred approach

In this presentation, I explore the role of animal-assisted activities in a German nursing home. The presentation draws on an exploratory research project using participatory observation, interviews with staff and residents, and over 900 photos. In the analysis, I focussed on the specific interactions between the care animal, a Bernese mountain dog, and the nursing home residents. In an environment, where sensory stimulation, (human) connection and home are difficult to establish, the dog helps to enhance wellbeing and liveability in the institutional setting. In the presentation I also explore how dogs make particularly suitable care animals due to their evolutionary connections with humans.

Bettina van Hoven is Associate professor Cultural Geography at the University of Groningen.