The benefits of pet therapy for seniors – especially those suffering from dementia – have been well documented and recommended by doctors. We at Poet’s Walk have seen firsthand what wonderful affects our community pets have had on our residents. That’s why we are so happy to offer the PAW (“Pets Are Welcome”) program at our memory care facilities, as well as ongoing pet therapy activities.
Discover the Benefits of Pet Therapy in Dementia
Seniors can benefit from interacting with pets is so many ways. They include:
- Lowered blood pressure, pulse rate, and triglyceride counts – from the additional physical activity and happiness pets provide.
- Improved moods, relieved of anxiety, and reduced depression – from the joy and affection – as well as a feeling of belonging – that pets can instill.
- Increased socialization – from giving and receiving attention and love from pets, and from talking with others about pets.
- Preventing loneliness and feelings of isolation – from the engaging presence of and interaction with a beloved animal.
- Increased physical activity – It’s hard to stop yourself from throwing a ball to a playful dog or scratching behind a cat’s ears to make them purr!
- Inspiration to take better care of themselves – from knowing that there’s always someone happy to see you and craves your friendship.
Being around pets has also proven invaluable for seniors who are:
- Experiencing grief – especially after a loss.
- In need of a sense of security – pets make excellent guardians as well as friends.
- Looking for someone to trust – pets are excellent listeners who do not pass judgment whatsoever.
Seniors with dementia often have difficulties communicating or expressing their feelings, and many of them feel disconnected from everyone and everything. Pet therapy can be vital for dementia patients because pets offer:
- Sensory stimulation. Interacting with animals engages multiple senses – hearing a cat meow for their attention or a dog playfully barking; touching an animal’s face and petting its back – perhaps even feeling a dog or cat kiss; and seeing the colors of a pet’s fur, a yawn, or the motion of a pet running and playing.
- Connection to the patient’s life. Many seniors will remember a family pet when petting another dog, or recall the sounds of their street at night when they hear its bark. For dementia patients, experiencing lost memories can be priceless.
- More positive communication and expression. Some seniors experience attitude or behavior changes as the result of their dementia and can exhibit aggression or intolerance around other people. Pets can feel less threatening and offer unconditional love, which has resulted in dementia patients letting their guards down and engaging in a more relaxed way.
Enjoy Pet-Friendly Assisted Living at Poet’s Walk
You don’t have to be an animal lover to understand how pets can bring out the best in seniors, and bring dementia patients back in touch with their surroundings. Forging a loving bond between pets and seniors, animal assisted therapy has truly enhanced the lives of many elderly adults in assisted living facilities.