The Impact and Benefits of Animal Therapy for Seniors in Memory Care

Over the last several years, Pet Therapy, also known as AAT( animal-assisted therapy), has positively influenced human life. It has shown some great results, specifically for seniors facing Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.

You might be thinking, how is it possible? Right?

But it’s true! A warm and furry friend can offer much more than a momentary delight to someone grappling with dementia. As George Eloit (Victorian novelist known for psychological depths) wisely remarked,” Animals are such agreeable friends they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

Moreover, in the realm of dementia care, the impact of animal therapy is genuinely remarkable. Additionally, pet therapy can provide seniors dealing with dementia with a multitude of benefits. It fosters a sense of connection, joy, and comfort in their challenging journey.

Let’s delve deep into this post and explore how pet therapy can positively influence seniors facing dementia problems.

How Pet Therapy Works?

Pet therapy is a healing intervention in which people interact with trained animals, frequently dogs or cats. The therapy is delivered in various settings, whether visiting hospitals, schools, nursing homes, or other environments.

Animals’ existence promotes social interaction and companionship and helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Apart from all these things, a special bond between humans and animals is leveraged to enhance emotional, cognitive, and psychological health, making pet therapy a valuable and effective intervention.

How Does Pet Therapy Benefit Seniors with Dementia?

Pet therapy involves interactions between trained animals and individuals to improve their well-being. It is particularly beneficial for seniors with dementia, providing a range of holistic, emotional, physical, cognitive, and psychological benefits.

Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of pet therapy for seniors. 

Holistic Benefits

According to a study, pet owners are typically less likely to feel lonely, less doctor meets, use fewer medicines, recover from illness more rapidly, and manage stress better. The studies show that spending just 15 minutes with an animal can trigger hormones that reduce stress and boost serotonin levels. Additionally, it offers emotional, physical, and mental benefits, which are especially vital for seniors prone to loneliness and isolation.

Emotional Benefits

Do you know older individuals are frequently predisposed to depression? The most likely reason for depression is loneliness in such situations; pet therapy is advantageous as it provides the companionship of many seniors, particularly those who live alone.

Moreover, having an animal around indeed makes people happy. This kind of loyalty and trust cannot be obtained through human connection but is provided by pets. Pets provide emotional stability to seniors in challenging situations and reduce their loneliness by lowering anxiety levels.

Physical Benefits

One of pet therapy’s most noticeable physical benefits is that a walk with a dog can offer seniors much-needed physical activity. Another important thing is physical touch. Cuddles of pet animals lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate, contributing to more restorative cardiovascular health.

Additionally, if seniors engage in activities with animals, it helps them to be more active and boost physical movement and exercise.

Cognitive Benefits

Pet therapy can stimulate memory recall and cognitive function in seniors with dementia. Whenever a senior interacts with the animals, it evokes positive memories and fosters cognitive connections. The seniors are likely to share their sentiments with an animal that loves them unconditionally and does not pass judgment.

Psychological Benefits

Pet therapy helps decrease aggressiveness and agitation behavior in seniors facing dementia problems. It improves sleep patterns and reduces restlessness in individuals with dementia. Moreover, animal interaction increases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are vital in mood regulation.

Wrapping Up

Pet therapy has proven to be an effective intervention for seniors in memory care, especially those with dementia. The presence of trained animals, such as dogs or cats, facilitates emotional connections and provides companionship. It also lowers blood pressure and increases physical activity, which reduces feelings of loneliness and depression. Pet therapy’s unique ability to positively influence seniors’ emotional, physical, cognitive, and psychological well-being makes it a valuable and beneficial approach to dementia care.


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