Pet Therapy Benefits For Seniors

Pet Therapy Benefits For Seniors

Pets can improve your quality of life. Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that invites your pets to come live with you if they are under 25 pounds. Orchard will also have many opportunities for residents who love animals to be able to regularly interact with them because we understand that pet therapy provides benefits for seniors.

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders. Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment. More and more communities are implementing pets as part of their daily programming.

Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond which has developed over thousands of years. Animals have, throughout the years, helped alert indigenous people about dangers and threatening situations. Therefore, we inherently know that if animals are at rest, all is well. Additionally, because dogs and humans have evolved together for thousands of years, eye contact between dogs and humans, releases oxytocin in the body which helps create social bonds.

Benefits of Pet Therapy

There are many benefits of pet therapy and interacting with a friendly pet has been found to help with:

  • Improve physical and mental issues
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve overall cardiovascular health
  • Release endorphins that produce a calming effect
  • Help alleviate pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve overall psychological state

Goals of Pet Therapy

Pet therapy can be used in different ways, and some of the goals of a pet therapy program can include:

  • improving motor skills and joint movement
  • improving assisted or independent movement
  • increasing self-esteem
  • increasing verbal communication
  • developing social skills
  • increasing willingness to join in activities
  • improving interactions with others
  • motivating willingness to exercise

Other Benefits of Pet Therapy

Other benefits of pet therapy include:

  • Increasing happiness
  • Lessening depression
  • Decreasing loneliness and isolation
  • Reducing boredom
  • Reducing anxiety because of its calming effects
  • Improving the relationship between someone and their healthcare provider

Who Can Benefit From Animal-Assisted Therapy?

Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:

  • Children having dental procedures
  • People receiving cancer treatment
  • Elders in long-term care communities
  • People with cardiovascular diseases
  • People living with dementia
  • Veterans living post-traumatic stress disorder
  • People with anxiety

People with health problems are not the only ones who can reap the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.

Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress of life. Animal-assisted interventions are goal oriented and structured to intentionally incorporate animals in health, education and human service for the purpose of therapeutic gains and improved health and wellness.

Orchard at Brookhaven will utilize innovative programs such as pet therapy to enhance connection and provide continued life giving experiences for residents. Meaningful relationship is a cornerstone for this luxury assisted living providing services for families of Brookhaven, Buckhead, Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia Highlands, Morningside, Toco Hills, Roswell, and the metro Atlanta area.

If you are interested in learning more about pet therapy, the following link can provide additional information: