Pet Companions & Pet Therapy for Elderly
Pet therapy has recently become a popular form of mild therapy for elderly. Studies now show several mental, emotional and physical benefits seniors can receive from interaction with animals. Pet therapy can help seniors with depression, anxiety, dementia, and more!
While ownership is most effective, caring for a pet can be laborious – especially for aging loved ones living on their own. CEO & Owner, Gina Kay, recognized this and did not want to neglect any elder who’d benefit from pet companionship. Thus, Gina enrolled her husky, Misxka Blue, in therapy dog school. Misxka graduated with honors and is now our very own therapy dog! Every Friday, we visit hospitals, rehabilitation centers, hospice, assisted living, etc. to bring patients the joy and welfare a pet provides. Misxka Blue is also available for clients of In Home Care Solutions.
Visitation therapy is arguably the most familiar kind of pet therapy for the elderly and involves animals (usually dogs or cats) visiting nursing homes, hospitals and senior centers to spend time with patients and residents. Allowing them to enjoy the animal’s loving attention without having to care for the animal. This is also a benefit for facilities that don’t normally permit pets.
It’s no secret pets offer companionship and unconditional love. Emerging research now shows our furry friends can boost general health and well-being, especially for elderly.
A FEW OF THE MANY BENEFITS PETS PROVIDE:
- Caring for a pet gives seniors a sense of purpose and the feeling of being wanted or needed
- Pets promote social interaction and physical activity
- Helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Pet owners use less medication and visit the doctors 21% fewer times
- Quicker recovery from surgery or illness
- Less depression, anxiety and fights loneliness
- Ease the loss of a loved one
- Render a sense of security
A recent survey of elderly attitudes regarding benefits of pets found:
95% senior citizens talk to pets
Pets help 82% when they feel sad… & 71% when they feel physically bad
65% feel better when touching a furry friend
57% confide in their pet
ADVANTAGES OF PET THERAPY SPECIFICALLY INCLUDE:
- Trained therapy animals can help improve patients’ motor and communication skills
- Mental stimulation through contact with pet handlers
- Encourage seniors to reminisce
- Senior citizens tend to be livelier and chat more in comparison to other forms of therapy
Animals like our very own Misxka Blue who are used for pet therapy also have to:
- Have basic obedience training
- Be properly and well socialized, as they may be required to meet new people frequently
- Understand how to interact with seniors who use wheelchairs, crutches and other mobility aids
Furthermore, pets also benefit greatly in having a relationship with a senior pet owner. Especially those rescued from animal shelters where otherwise would’ve been doomed. A senior pet owner is likely to have more time to devote a pet, who, in turn, will thrive in a loving home.
Thank you Caring People for this awesome infographic!
Dr. Kay got her medical education in Brazil.
Dr. Kay also has a master degree in Film and Television from UCLA and has been an adviser for medical television shows.
Dr. Kay is very active in the Health Industry. She is a member of the American Board of Home Care, the National Association of Home Care, CAHSAH, California Association of Health Services at Home. She co-chairs the education committee for the Down with Falls Coalition. Dr. Kay is in the speaker’s bureau for the coalition helping educate health care professionals and the community on fall risks, diabetes, adverse drug reaction, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, dehydration and nutrition, etc…. for older adults.
Dr. Kay was nominated by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as the Remarkable Woman of 2008.
Dr. Kay is actively involved in many philanthropy and non-profit organizationssuch as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, the Philharmonic Society, Women Helping Women, Youth Employment Services, E-Women, Women Sage, Plasticos Foundation, CIELO and others.
Dr. Kay’s passion is to assist seniors to live long and thrive in the comfort of their own home.
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