How Pet Therapy Benefits the Elderly
How are Animals and other Pet Therapy programs Beneficial to the Elderly?
Pets provide love and companionship in addition to reduced stress and anxiety levels research proves. What’s even better? Many Assisted Living communities welcome pets and provide pet therapy for those that do not have one
One thing I have noticed is that animals bring out the best in people. Next time you walk down the street and notice a dog, see how quickly they put a smile on your face. Of course, there are people that do not enjoy the companionship of animals, however, how are they beneficial to the elderly?
Animals can help the physical and mental health of an elder. In a survey that measured the benefits of animal companionship for the elderly, it was found that 71% of the participants stated that their pets make them feel better when they physically don’t. In a study conducted, “approximately one million people die of heart disease each year, animal companionship may save 30,000 lives annually.” (onegreenplanet.org) Think about it, animals usually help us through tough times, they tend to love us unconditionally, they don’t care how old we are and how we look. Many assisted living facilities (ALF) also allow residents to bring their animals with them but for those that are not able to take care of their own pets, can still receive happy puppy visits as several communities incorporate pet therapy programs for their seniors.
These pet therapy programs allow volunteers to bring in pets who have gone through a training certification course. Pets range from dogs, cats and even goats (yes, goats!) to soothe and comfort elderly residents. Since many assisted living communities provide daily/monthly activities, imagine if once a month, they have puppies or kittens come in to simply be with the residents. How beneficial can that become to residents?
Some residents may not want to participate in the activities a community offers, so bringing animals to the community can help them get out of their rooms and become more social. Incorporating animals in an elder’s life can be very beneficial, both emotionally and physically. If there is a way to prolong our loved one’s lives we should strive as much as we can to do so!
Our North Star Senior Advisors can help you find Assisted Living options that will embrace you or your loved one’s furry friend or can help find ones that offer pet therapy! Call us today at 407-796-1582 to speak with one of our experienced advisors or visit northstarsa.com