Seniors and Pet Therapy

There are so many reasons why pet owners love their pets: unconditional love, companionship, petting their fur, and cuddling them. Many seniors can no longer handle caring for a pet, so they miss out on these fluffy bundles of joy.

For those seniors that miss the joy of owning a pet, senior living communities may offer pet therapy as an easier way to interact with animals. For a short period of time, a certified therapy animal will visit and interact with residents in senior living communities. Therapy animals are used in a variety of ways depending on the capabilities of each resident.

There are many benefits to seniors from pet therapy, which is typically a low-intensity form of therapy. Research shows that seniors who have pets decline in health more slowly than isolated or depressed seniors. Just a 15-minute session with a pet can make a difference to seniors’ health. It has been shown that interacting with animals produces hormonal changes in the brain. Chemicals such as prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin (also known as the “feel-good” hormone) are produced by the brain and lowers stress levels.

Pet Therapy at West Janisch Health Care Center

At West Janisch Health Care Center in Houston, Texas, we provide our residents with animal visitation therapy on a regular basis. Nan, the dog of our director of nursing, April Joseph, became our therapeutic volunteer when she was just 2 months old.

The following are some of the benefits that pet therapy provides to our residents:

Reduced amounts of lonliness.

Lower risk of depression.

A stronger sense of purpose.

Stimulation of memory.

Lowered blood pressure.

Improved self-esteem.

In addition to providing pet therapy to our residents, we also offer a variety of other services. Contact us today to learn more about our services.


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