Everyone knows that petting a dog or cat is known to have calming effects on your body. A pet can bring many health benefits to its owner, including lower cholesterol and even helping them fight depression.
As a result, more and more animals are being used for therapeutic purposes at senior facilities. It makes seniors less depressed, more happier and also communicative.
Here are just some of the benefits of pet therapy for seniors.
- Mental Benefits
Therapy animals are a source of entertainment and enjoyment. Senior individuals can interact with them while they are visiting and reduce stress. It allows them to focus on something other than themselves, their pain or depression. Animals provide a new point of conversation.
Since animals are non-judgmental and accept all love equally, it can be very soothing to spend time with a therapy animal. It boosts their self-esteem, and the therapy animals give them a sense of responsibility. Therapy animals also inspire humor and fun in the facility.
Patients suffering from dementia may benefit from having an animal to be with when they are having trouble using language.
- Physical Benefits
Stroking an animal is known to reduce stress, and just 10-15 minutes can be beneficial for an elderly person. It can reduce blood pressure, normalize heart rate, and reduce stress.
Walking the dogs around the facility can help improve muscle strength and general physical fitness. Therapy animals can provide senior groups with a common topic to bond over. Group walks can be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Grooming and feeding the animals can help improve physical skills as well, and encourages senior individuals to get up and move around.
At Fort Tryon, a trainer comes by every other week for a visit with every resident. Our residents look forward to these visits with great anticipation.