Having a pet at the company may be a priceless asset that gives people of all ages—but especially seniors—a sense of purpose and involvement. When you spend time with a pet, you may fight loneliness and isolation effectively. Pets provide comfort and companionship, which lowers stress levels and improves general health and wellness. Learn more about the benefits of pet therapy for senior citizens.
Description of pet therapy.
Anyone who has spent time with a devoted dog or heard a cat purr understands the profound impact that animals can have on people. Even if elders are unable to adequately care for a pet, having a pet friend can have a positive impact on their health. Animals interact with the elderly through pet therapy to assist improve their quality of life.
Retirement villages, hospices, rehab facilities, and senior living facilities are just a few locations where pet therapy can take place. Domestic cats, dogs, and farm animals are all employed in pet therapy. Animals that are trained for therapy must complete foundational obedience training, be well-socialized, and know how to engage with elderly people who have restricted mobility.
Senior pet therapy comes in three primary flavors, and each one offers advantages of its own.
Types of Pet Therapy
Seniors who use ownership therapy own the animal. Seniors who can properly care for a pet and are active should consider this choice. This would entail coordinating pet grooming services, being able to take and pay for veterinarian care, and walking and exercising a pet.
The most prevalent kind of animal-assisted therapy is called visitation therapy. Animals visit the senior in their home or senior living facility as part of this sort of therapy.
Seniors who require the most intensive rehabilitation can benefit from animal-assisted therapy. As part of their rehabilitation, seniors are matched with extremely sensitive animals like dolphins or horses, which helps them develop their physical abilities and self-confidence.
Holistic Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors
Pet owners are often less likely to experience loneliness, see the doctor less frequently, take fewer medications, heal from illnesses more quickly, and handle stress better, according to research. According to one study, even only 15 minutes with an animal causes the brain to undergo hormonal changes that lower stress and raise serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone) levels.
Pets provide emotional, physical, and mental advantages to people of all ages, but they are especially beneficial to older citizens who are more likely to experience loneliness and isolation.
Emotional Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors
Many elderly people are vulnerable to depression because they spend a lot of time alone. There may be several causes. For example, a devoted partner has passed away, friends and family are unable to visit frequently, or they are no longer as active as they once were.
Whatever the cause, pet therapy is beneficial because it offers the company that many seniors crave, especially those who live alone.
Having an animal around, you see, makes people happy. Only pets can offer this sense of devotion and trust, which cannot be attained through human interaction.
They first offer emotional steadiness intense circumstances. Reduced loneliness decreases anxiety levels, which in turn lowers the chance of depression.
Other emotional advantages of pet therapy for seniors include:
- Improved social skills
- Decreased likelihood of depression
- Lower levels of anxiety
- Decreased emotions of loneliness; and
- A greater capacity to be kind and caring.
Physical Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors
This is probably not something that needs a lot of explanation. Seniors are encouraged to be active and spend time outdoors with them, and simply walking a dog can provide much-needed physical activity. Because of this, one’s mobility improves, and their lifestyle as a whole becomes healthier.
Internally, they experience an improvement in their cardiovascular health as a result of increased exercise, which is reflected in lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol level. This is due, in part, to the fact that they can have something to pet or touch, thereby stabilizing their heart rate and lessening the amount of stress they feel.
Additionally, taking care of a pet by providing it with food and water and bathing can assist a senior’s physical abilities and encourage them to become more active.
The following are some of the common additional physical benefits of pet therapy, however, the specifics might vary depending on the sort of therapy being administered:
- Increased levels of exercise
- More mobility from caring for a pet
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduction in depression, stress, and anxiety levels
- Improved physical skills for more intensive programs like horseback riding or swimming with dolphins
Seniors who receive pet therapy benefit from mentally
Pet therapy has been shown to have significant positive effects on the mental health of elderly people, with individuals with dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment benefiting even more from the practice.
A better sense of purpose and meaning, as was just described, is one benefit; another benefit is more mental stimulation, which comes from having a pet to care for. Memory is stimulated in addition to being strengthened as a result of increased socializing, which also helps boost their capacity to plan for the care of their pet.
Pet therapy has been shown to have significant positive effects on the mental health of elderly patients, particularly those who are coping with dementia or another form of cognitive impairment.
- Improved mental stimulation
- Increased socialization
- Strengthened ability to plan for pet care
- Improved sense of purpose and meaning
- Memory stimulation
- Calming negative behaviors associated with dementia
All Leisure Care independent living and assisted living facilities allow pets because we are pet lovers who firmly believe in the therapeutic benefits of pets. Even pet care is available in several of our communities! Bring your pet to one of our communities today to learn how we can improve both your and your pet’s quality of life!
Pet therapy, often considered a hobby, can help individuals of all ages, especially seniors, find purpose and involvement.
Companionship alleviates loneliness, reduces stress, and improves health. Seniors with dementia might benefit greatly from pet therapy on the mental, emotional, and physical levels.