Home Care Blog | September 29, 2016
Pet Therapy for Seniors | Many seniors find social interactions with people increasingly stressful as degenerative conditions worsen. Pets do not place the same demands on seniors socially but seem to elicit the same positive benefits that human interaction does as far as reducing loneliness and isolation.
Lower Stress – Just half an hour with a pet has been shown to lower stress. Blood pressure can be lowered by just petting a dog. For example, therapy dogs have been consistently proven to lower levels of pain, lower anxiety, lower blood pressure, and increase levels of enjoyments, social interaction, and bring about a positive outlook on life.
Companionship – In addition to spending time together, pets are great companions that encourage seniors to stay active. Research suggests that seniors with pets are more active, on average, than those without pets and are also more likely to engage in social activities. Some of the reasoning behind these findings is that caring for an animal requires physical activity, and owning an animal automatically creates a bond between people. Simply meeting other pet owners in the food aisle of the store can lead to conversations, as can meeting at the dog run or park.
Physical and Mental Abilities – An article in Psychosomatic Medicine noted that people working on math problems while their pets were in the room with them made less mistakes than when the pets were not in the room. Seniors who owned a dog or cat also performed better on “daily living” skills such as climbing stairs, cooking, medication management, and personal care (bathing, dressing, and so forth).
What happens when the senior cannot have a pet due to any number of physical or mental issues? The good news is that seniors can take advantage of local companies that work with elderly adults to provide them with pet therapy.
Pet Access League Society (PALS) is located at 3019 21 St NE, Calgary, ABN T2E 7T1. They are a non-profit pet therapy company that’s main goal is to enhance the quality of life through pet therapy. Normal visits last between 60-90 minutes with the pets, either one-on-one or group sessions.
If you are concerned about the safety of your aging loved ones, especially in regard to fire, we can help. While it’s important to rely on the expertise of licensed professionals for certain precautions, we can provide home safety assessments and ensure your loved ones’ environment is safe.