The Power of Pet Therapy for Elderly
There are many ways to care for an aging friend or loved one who is battling injury, stress, loss or any number of issues. Many times, though, the tactics we commonly think of are all human-to-human therapy interactions. What about therapy of a more canine or feline nature?
I am sure you have heard some form of the story of a dog or cat that cares for and stands beside its owner as they overcome adversity. Is it all just an emotional game the media plays on our hearts or is there some significance?
The power of pet therapy is a very real thing that impacts people across all ages and situations in life, especially aging seniors that require home health care or some form of therapy. Whether it is just a weekly visit from a friendly dog or cat or a pet that doubles as a roommate, pet therapy has several benefits.
When older adults lose their husband or wife, they can fall into anxiety and depression. After living in a home with that person for many years, they are understandably lonely when they find themselves without that person in the home or an assisted living facility. A pet can be a friend for someone in this situation because they are very loyal and loving as companions.
Another aspect of aging and overcoming health issues is the loss of one’s routine. Activities that someone previously enjoyed may no longer be possible or available. Animals give people a reason to continue daily life. Animals have to be taken outside, fed and groomed. If the person is physically able to care for an animal, it can be a great way to energize them and motivate them to maintain their quality of life and therapy routine.
As I previously alluded to, if physically possible, pets provide a great opportunity to get seniors up and moving. If they need to lose weight or stay moving for muscle and joint therapy, dogs are great additions to a walk around the block or a bike ride. In this situation, animals can be a big help with a person’s existing home health or therapy routine.
If your friend or loved one is unable to care for an animal full time, a daily or weekly house call from a familiar furry face will lift their spirits and encourage them to keep working hard in therapy. Researchers have found that interactions with pets as therapy can reduce blood pressure and increase the flow of endorphins in the brain.
How can pet therapy positively impact your friend or loved one?