Tag Archives: senior communities

Pet Therapy in Senior Communities

The aging process brings about a myriad of challenges for those fortunate enough to live long enough to face them. As stress and health issues shift from things like occupational demands and exercise frequency, to a long overdue visit from a grandchild and managing medications, seniors may find the company of pets the most rewarding diversion.

The known benefits of Animal therapy are increasing and are becoming more popular in senior communities. Not only do seniors enjoy the benefits of animal therapy, but it has been proven to lower blood pressure, alleviate depression and bring a smile to ones face. Several studies have been done showing positive results in seniors of various care levels ranging from raising spirits of those whom had recently lost friends or loved ones to calming aggression/anxiety in seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. One study showed lasting results from installing an aquarium in their senior community dining room. After installation, there was an overall increase in mealtime consumption resulting in healthy weight gain among the residents.

There are several groups that provided certified therapy animals and handlers. It is always a happy occasion when the therapy dogs come to visit. They also do room visits for residents who are unable to come out of their rooms, will jump on a bed when invited and give a snuggle to someone that has not been able to have their own dog for some time.
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or fish, introduction of animal friends is a great way to promote socialization and minimize loneliness among those living in senior communities.

Below are a couple articles on the benefits of pet therapy:

http://www.petpartners.org/document.doc?id=314
http://www.petpartners.org/document.doc?id=319