It is no secret that there are many benefits to interacting with pets such as: dogs, cats, birds and robotic simulating animals. Our furry friends are a part of the family and have therapeutic attributes that can improve the health and quality of life for you or your loved ones. Pet therapy is the interaction between a person and a trained animal. Bonding with a friendly pet can help with a variety of physical and mental issues. Studies indicate that those who spend regular time with pets often have lower blood pressure and triglyceride counts. Here are some additional reasons why pet therapy is beneficial for seniors.
Exercising not only assists seniors who are recovering from an injury or illness but can also prevent several chronic diseases from arising. Physical activity can also improve appetite, sleep and mood, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Those who own dogs usually have to make time each day to walk them, which not only encourages physical activity but also provides the benefits of exercising. In a NCBI study, “Dog owners in Canada were more likely to visit multiuse or walk-through parks than individuals who did not possess dogs.” Comparatively, cats tend to enjoy playtime throughout the day, which helps their elderly owner stay engaged and active.
Increases Social Interaction
Pet therapy has shown positive results for individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, especially when dogs are present. A study conducted at the Veterans Hospital presented, “Residents had more verbal interactions with each other when a dog was present in the room than when there was no dog present.” Pets can also be a great way to start up conversations and can bridge the gap between people of all ages.
Provides a Sense Of Purpose
It is common for the elderly population to have symptoms of depression and isolate themselves from family and social outings. Studies have shown that pet therapy has the ability to reduce those symptoms of depressions and loneliness. Pets provide a sense of purpose because they depend on their owners for food, exercise and companionship. Taking care of a pet can be a big responsibility and require a daily regimen which can provide structure to the owner’s day. According to NCBI, “responsibility is widely considered important in mental health recovery.”
Poet’s Walk, a Spring Hills Memory Care Community, our staff have witnessed just how much having a pet enhances the lives and joy of our home care recipients. Our home care providers encourage our clients to interact with their pets which not only enables them to express their nurturing side but also provides comfort, fulfillment and a sense of purpose in their lives To learn more about the benefits of pet therapy and our PAW Program, click here.