The Healing Power of Animals For Senior Citizens

Apr 26, 2013 by

Benefits of Pets for the Elderly

Animals and humans share a deep connection that is strengthened in times of great emotional and physical distress.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than when one witnesses the touching interactions that occur between animals and aging adults. Animal therapy programs have gradually taken root in many elder care arenas, including, adult day care centers, nursing homes and hospice care facilities.

Animals and humans share a deep connection that is strengthened in times of great emotional and physical distress.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than when one witnesses the touching interactions that occur between animals and aging adults. Animal therapy programs have gradually taken root in many elder care arenas, including, adult day care centers, nursing homes and hospice care facilities.

Here are 4 examples of such programs, each one highlighting the uniquely beautiful bond that the elderly share with the animal kingdom:

 

Beacon House Pet Therapy Program

The Beacon Hospice pet therapy program (see video above) helps people who are terminally ill find comfort and connect with fond memories of the past by allowing them to interact with specially-trained therapy dogs.

For these dying seniors, the animals represent a source of safety and care that cannot be replicated by human nurses and caregivers. Shannon Fultz, a pet therapy volunteer at Beacon describes the uncanny, sixth-sense of her dog, Tori, “She’ll pick a person out of the room and go over to them. It’s as if she decides, ‘That’s the person who needs me today.’”

The Dementia Dog program was developed as part of a competition initiated in the United Kingdom by the Department of Health and the Design Council, called, “Living Well with Dementia.” Competitors were tasked with developing innovative ways to improve the lives of people suffering from dementia.

A team comprised of members of the Glasgow School of Art, Alzheimer’s Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled and Guide Dogs U.K. came up with a concept they dubbed the “Dementia Dog” program. This program was designed to help people who have dementia and are still living at home to re-connect with their community and remain independent.

The Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley in Littleton, Massachusetts

The Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley in Littleton, Massachusetts uses therapy llamas to help older adults who are struggling with dementia and memory loss.

Engaging with these gentle, long-necked creatures helps put the men and women in the center’s memory support unit at ease. “When you have an interaction with an animal, it’s just more relaxed. There’s no expectation—there’s just love,” says Erica Labb, the Memory Support Program Director for the center.

4 Heartwarming Examples of the Healing Power of Animals (Videos)

The Dementia Dog program was developed as part of a competition initiated in the United Kingdom by the Department of Health and the Design Council, called, “Living Well with Dementia.” Competitors were tasked with developing innovative ways to improve the lives of people suffering from dementia.

A team comprised of members of the Glasgow School of Art, Alzheimer’s Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled and Guide Dogs U.K. came up with a concept they dubbed the “Dementia Dog” program. This program was designed to help people who have dementia and are still living at home to re-connect with their community and remain independent.

The Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley in Littleton, Massachusetts uses therapy llamas to help older adults who are struggling with dementia and memory loss.

Engaging with these gentle, long-necked creatures helps put the men and women in the center’s memory support unit at ease. “When you have an interaction with an animal, it’s just more relaxed. There’s no expectation—there’s just love,” says Erica Labb, the Memory Support Program Director for the center.

Maggie the miniature horse lives in Massachusetts. In this video, Maggie hoofs it up and down the corridors of the Day by Day Adult Care Center in Glouchester, MA, generously doling out her signature “kisses,” much to the delight of the center’s aging visitors.

4 Heartwarming Examples of the Healing Power of Animals (Videos)

Please let us know your thoughts! Do you also believe Pets have a tremendous influence on Senior Citizens?

Paws for the News
www.pawsforthenews.tv
Host: Carl Milson
Co-Host: Shane Carr
Co-Host: Angelica

Paws for the News is owned and operated by A Touch of Love Inc.

 

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