Seniors Benefit from Pet Therapy

 Pet therapy is one of the long used treatments for health problems, depression and mood disorders particularly. But just how effective could it be to renew your health? 

Mental health challenges, namely Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), end of life trauma, and Alzheimer’s disease have been proven to be coped with using pet therapy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also marked the use of animals to reduce the feeling of loneliness, blood pressure and cholesterol.

One of the key advantages of animal-assisted therapy is that it takes your mood and energy levels to a different level, which is very useful for anyone recovering from an illness. While pet therapy is long praised for showing significant improvement in health, there are some scientific studies to support the treatment.

 Pet therapy is not just restricted to dogs and cats; it could be any animal that’s worth including. 144 participants from Italy were exposed to canary bird, a plant, and neither. They were provided with specific instructions to care for what they were exposed to for a period of three months. After completion of the stipulated period of time, those who cared for the canary scored well in psychological symptom testing compared to those who cared for a plant and those who had neither of them.

A recent study, which proves why dogs and cats are deployed in shelters each year, is supportive of the effectiveness of pet therapy.  Veterans struggling with trust rebuilding, PTSD, and dementia showed great signs of improvement by having a dog as a pet.  Dogs mimic the buddy system practiced in military. As a result, the Veteran patients were able to exhibit larger volume of social behaviors and positive signs of cognition. . There can be no argument on how capable pet therapy is to boost social interaction and physical activity which play a vital role in the overall well-being of seniors. 

What is the Health Benefits of Pet therapy?

  • Increase in physical activity
  • Boosted motor skills and improved balance
  • Sense of security and companionship
  • Reduced isolation, grief, and anxiety
  • Low risk of heart attack and stroke

A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Lauralee or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866. Funding support provided by Interior Health, the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), United Way Southern Interior and United Way Lower Mainland.

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