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Pet Therapy for Seniors




What is pet therapy?

 

Pet therapy, akin to other therapeutic approaches, is employed as a form of treatment in senior care settings. Also referred to as animal-assisted therapy, it revolves around interacting with animals as a primary method of intervention, aiming to enhance social, emotional, and cognitive well-being.

 

How pet therapy is utilized in senior care:

 

Group activities and therapeutic interventions are integral components of senior care facilities nationwide, fostering a sense of belonging and cheerfulness among residents. Many such facilities arrange visits from specially trained therapy animals, providing residents with opportunities to spend quality time with them and derive comfort from their companionship. Some facilities even house pets on-site, enabling daily interactions that cultivate meaningful bonds.

 

While dogs are commonly associated with therapy animals, various other species, including birds, rabbits, fish, horses, and goats, also serve in this capacity. Facilitating interactions between aged care residents and therapy animals not only uplifts spirits but also enhances self-esteem and instills a sense of calmness.

 

Benefits of pet therapy in senior care:

 

An outstanding advantage of animal-assisted therapy is its ability to garner higher engagement rates compared to other therapeutic modalities. Even residents who might be hesitant to participate in other forms of therapy often display openness to pet therapy, thus enabling them to reap its therapeutic benefits.

 

Furthermore, research underscores numerous mental and physical advantages associated with pet therapy, including:

 

·      decreased blood pressure and stress levels.

·      reduced confusion.

·       diminished feelings of loneliness.

·       alleviated symptoms of depression and anxiety.

·       enhanced social interaction.

·       heightened enthusiasm and inspiration.

·       improved communication.

·       and bolstered memory and motor skills.

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