The Advantages to Pet Therapy and Seniors
Everyone loves a kitten or a puppy! They make people smile. They are not only fun…they actually have shown to have some great benefits on the elderly. Research has shown how beneficial pet therapy can be to the elderly. Regular visits with pets can have positive physical, emotional and mental benefits. Physical benefits include lowering blood pressure, lowering heart rate and reducing overall stress. Emotional benefits are reduced anxiety and depression as well as decreased loneliness through increasing social interaction with the pets.
At Springhouse Senior Living, we are fortunate to have lots of pet therapy! We enjoy monthly visits from Barn Babies (a traveling petting zoo complete with puppies, kittens, ducklings, a piglet, a goat, and chickens). We also have Caring Canines who visit monthly and visits with Jo Heffron who volunteers with her 5 papillons.
We even have “on-call” dogs (Tucker the Yellow Lab and Max the Shih-Tzu) who can provide immediate “Fur Therapy” to residents with a simple phone call.
Consistent interaction with a pet has been shown to increase the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which can help calm and soothe a person’s body. This can be helpful for patients with Alzheimer’s dementia as regular pet visits may help to decrease unwanted behaviors and calm agitation.