Not all therapy for seniors involves physical activities or prescription medications. In many cases, one of the best therapies is pet therapy. There are many ways that pets can be used to help seniors live full and active lives. The benefits of seniors interacting with pets are numerous. Here you will learn about the most common types of pet therapy for seniors, and the benefits.
Types of Pet Therapy for Seniors
- Visitation – Just because someone can't own a pet, it doesn't mean that they can't enjoy the benefits of being around animals. Many hospitals, senior citizens homes, etc. are using pets for therapy. The residents get to spend time with the animals that visit, giving and receiving attention, and often just having a pet in the room can be comforting for them.
- Ownership – As long as seniors are physically capable of caring for a pet, it is good for them to own pets. Ownership pet therapy helps seniors stay active, because they have to care for their pets. Their pets also provide them with much-needed companionship for seniors who live alone.
- Animal-Assisted– Animal-assisted therapy is used when patients need extensive rehabilitation. For instance, animals may be used in confidence-building programs, or to help seniors improve their motor functions. A good example is a seeing-eye dog or a therapy dog, which help the patients with their day-to-day tasks.
Pet Therapy Benefits
There are several benefits of pet therapy for seniors, including physical, emotional, and mental. Physically, seniors can benefit because they will see improved mobility due to caring for their pets, including walking and brushing them. Petting them will even help them to improve mobility. Seniors get more exercise, because they must exercise their pets. Studies also show that having a pet around can help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Pets can provide plenty of emotional therapy for seniors. For instance, they have companionship, and they feel good about themselves when their pets are happy to see them. This can do wonders for seniors who are suffering from depression or anxiety issues. Having pets gives many seniors a reason to live, because they know that their pets must be looked after. Many seniors who own pets are also more socially active. For instance, dog owners will get to know other owners at the local dog park.
There are also several mental benefits as a result of pet therapy for seniors. For example, having a pet helps to keep the memory stimulated, because the seniors must remember to feed and exercise their pets. Pets can also provide mental stimulation for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer's, and similar health issues.