Our lives are improved and enriched by pets. In fact, a scientific study demonstrates that playing or petting a pet can initiate a molecular chain reaction that reduces the stress hormone cortisol and raises the feel-good hormone serotonin in as little as fifteen minutes. Remarkably, you can experience the calming benefits of animals without ever having to touch them. Your body may release oxytocin, a potent neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy, just by gazing at a pet. Given their many advantages, it's understandable why so many assisted living facilities allow pets to socialize with their clients.
Pet therapy comes in a variety of formats for assisted care facilities. While some communities allow employees to bring friendly pets to work with them, others have resident communal pets. A small number of localities even let citizens own dogs. However, pet therapy is the only way that most residents of assisted living facilities may engage with a regular home pet, such as a dog or cat.
Pet therapy in assisted living, however, is not limited to your average house pet. Other animals, such as small horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, and even reptiles, are frequently brought in by assisted living facilities for the residents to play with. Pet therapy can be arranged as an individual visit in a resident's room or apartment, but it is usually a planned and coordinated leisure activity for the community to enjoy as a group.
What is Pet Therapy?
The term "pet therapy," which is sometimes known as "animal-assisted therapy," refers to activities and therapy involving animals. People who are dealing with health issues including cancer, mental illness, and heart disease can benefit from the support of pet therapy animals. Activities involving animals, like those included on calendars for senior living communities, offer comfort and delight in addition to a host of other health advantages.
Benefits of Pet Therapy
Let's examine the direct advantages of pet therapy for people residing in assisted living facilities:
Long-term interactions between people and pets have been demonstrated to provide the following advantages:
What Makes Pet Therapy So Helpful?
Numerous studies demonstrate that those who engage with pets, especially dogs, experience higher levels of self-esteem and overall betterment compared to those who do not own pets. This is because pets, in particular, foster emotions of competence, autonomy, and therapeutic/psychological well-being.
Especially if they engage in fewer activities than they formerly did, older people frequently feel insecure and lonely. Therapy animals, particularly dogs, have a unique ability to connect with people. They frequently assist withdrawn people come out of their shells and become happier and more talkative.
When an animal visits, the residents anticipate it and treasure the time they spend with it. Instead of the negative and depressing thoughts that some people find themselves facing and obsessing upon, animals provide them with something nice to focus on. When someone is experiencing bad emotions, the animal's unconditional acceptance and affection help them feel good about themselves and the world.
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's disease especially benefit greatly from the company of pets. Animals and dementia patients frequently develop a unique bond because of animals' high level of intuition. Several studies have demonstrated that having an animal in the house helps to lessen a number of the behavioral issues linked to dementia, including agitation, despair, anxiety, and loneliness. Additionally, pets encourage greater interaction and socialization in dementia sufferers—even those who previously were unable to engage in social situations including nonverbal individuals and other adults.
Additionally, it has been discovered that pet therapy reduces the agitation linked to sundowner's syndrome. For someone who struggles with self-expression, the animal's profound acceptance and nonverbal communication are very comforting.
There are groups that offer assistance to families looking to find a companion animal for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's disease: Therapy dogs, Pet Partners, and Pets for the Elderly Foundation
Therapy animals are being used in assisted living facilities more and more for therapeutic purposes for all of the aforementioned reasons. For those coping with a variety of medical issues, these incredible animals support wellness and recovery.
Seeing these advantages, a growing number of communities are incorporating pet therapy into their regular schedules or bringing pets into their communities permanently so they can be enjoyed day or night.
It seems that everyone gains when treatment is provided to the dogs! Get in touch with Bridgeway Senior Healthcare for further information if you'd like. One of the many compassionate ways we offer assisted living and memory care is through pet therapy.