Animal-Assisted Therapy for Seniors

Isolation and depression are a far-to-common occurrence for the elderly.  Combine that with visitation guidelines and social distancing that we are experiencing during the corona virus outbreak, and that leaves many seniors with a void that needs to be filled.   Pet therapy for seniors, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, uses animals to help improve their quality of life. Just fifteen minutes spent bonding with an animal promotes hormonal changes within the brain, and stress levels drop. Senior Communities are offering pet therapy, but the same benefits can be enjoyed at home as well.   Robotic pets are used an alternative to cope with live pet limitations on visitation during the pandemic and also in settings such as in hospice, the hospital, senior communities, and also for those that cannot properly care for a pet in their home.  Complete with synthetic fur and sensors thought the body, enabling it to react to sound, light and touch. It may blink its eyes, move its head, make sounds and react as a real animal does when interacting with a human. It evokes the same emotional pleasure as a pet therapy animal but can serve patients in situations where real animals cannot. 

Emotional benefits of pet therapy for seniors include:

  • Improved social and communication skills
  • Reduced feelings of loneliness
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduction in depression, stress, and anxiety levels

Pet therapy provides incredible mental benefits for those with dementia:

  • Improved sense of purpose and meaning
  • Memory and mental stimulation
  • Calming negative behaviors associated with dementia

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