The Importance of Pet Therapy for Seniors

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The Importance of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Pet Therapy contributes to greater enjoyment and quality of life, lifts spirits and lowers blood pressure.

Don’t underestimate the important role pets can play in improving quality of life for seniors!

In the midst of navigating the many changes and challenges that come up as we or our loved ones grow older, exploring and discovering sources of calm and joy can make a meaningful difference in how seniors experience their lives in older age. Comfort can take many forms and can be derived from many sources, such as hobbies, reading, listening to music, watching movies, or visiting with friends and family. While each senior’s sense of calm will be found in a different place based upon their individual interests, preferences, and circumstances, one activity that has been shown to impact senior’s lives in a positive way is time spent in the company of animals. Animal Assisted or Pet Therapy is a form of therapeutic interaction that has been seen to have a notable impact upon the wellbeing of seniors in a positive way, regardless of their existing condition or state of health, and can be a wonderful and accessible tool for seniors to incorporate into their lives.

What is Pet Therapy?

pets therapy dog cat senior retirement improve mood

Pets can instantly improve mood and lower blood pressure

Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy,  values the comforting and soothing effects that animals can have on people, and makes use of them in a form of therapeutic treatment. Pet Therapy’s overarching goal is to contribute to a greater quality of life in as many ways as possible by targeting emotional, social, physiological, or cognitive areas.

Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Pet Therapy has been proven to yield great benefits for seniors, improving both physical and mental health. Studies indicate that even a few mere moments spent in the company of an animal can contribute instantly to the improvement of mood and the lowering of blood pressure.

pets motor skills playing walking therapy

Walking and playing with pets improves mobility and motor skills

Some of the many benefits of Pet Therapy include:

• Releases Oxytocin, having a calming effect

• Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

• Improves Motor Skills or Mobility, when petting or walking animals

• Decreases Feelings of Isolation

• Lessens Symptoms of Depression

• Decreases Anxiety and Stress

• Increases Levels of Engagement, motivating reserved people to come out of their shells

• Provides a Sense of Comfort and Calm

• Relieves Boredom

Socializing with Pets

senior dog pet therapy retirement

Pets make us happier

The unfortunate reality for many seniors is that their day to-day-lives are often characterized by feelings of loneliness or isolation. While socializing with an animal is undoubtedly different from connecting with other humans, interaction with animals can act as a meaningful social activity for seniors, that allows them the opportunity to feel engaged. Incorporating Pet Therapy into seniors’ routines can act not only as a tool for stress reduction and improvement of mood, but can also provide important opportunities for socialization to help supplement time spent with other people.

Incorporating Pet Therapy

As more thorough and detailed information becomes available concerning the positive outcomes associated with Pet Therapy, the therapy itself also becomes more accessible across areas, including Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge. A simple internet search can demonstrate an array of results with information about providers of Pet Therapy, and details about how time can be scheduled with therapy animals in a way that fits well into seniors’ existing routines. Pet therapy can benefit seniors in multiple ways, and is manageable, accessible, and enjoyable form of therapy for seniors with an interest in animals.

Contact us today for a Free Nurse Consultation to discuss how Home Care can help you or a loved one manage the daily routine of owning a pet or accessing a therapy pet, and improving your quality of life in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.