We are already aware of the calming and therapeutic benefits of watching fish swim in those living with dementia, benefits that are backed up by our clients who have our Aquariums in their dementia / aged care environments, but we have recently discovered some interesting research conducted, that indicates the additional benefit of increasing appetite as well.
During the 10 week study, researchers brought fish tanks into the dining area of 3 dementia units at evening meal time. The fish were also fed at the same time to stimulate their activity.
Residents in all three facilities increased their food consumption and gained an average of 1 kg over the study period. Researchers said that the fish tanks had a calming effect, allowing residents to “connect with nature and focus on eating”.
This is really interesting as it demonstrates that watching fish swimming not only has an influence on well-being and state of mind, but can have a positive impact on physical health. Lack of interest in food and subsequent weight loss are significant issues for those caring for people with dementia to address.