The Importance of Pet Therapy for Seniors

The important role pets can play in improving the quality of life for seniors should not be underestimated. Navigating the many changes and challenges that arise with age can be stressful, so exploring and discovering sources of calm and joy can make a meaningful difference in how seniors experience their lives in older age.

Finding Comfort in Daily Life

Comfort can take many forms and can be derived from many activities, such as reading, listening to music, watching movies, exercising, or visiting with friends and family. Everyone tends to have a different approach to achieving tranquillity based upon individual interests, preferences, and circumstances.

Calming Effect of Animals

 A common activity that has been shown to impact seniors’ lives in positive ways is time spent in the company of animals. Animal Assisted or Pet Therapy is a form of therapeutic interaction that has been shown to have a notable impact upon the wellbeing of seniors. Regardless of existing conditions or state of health, pet therapy can be a wonderful and accessible tool for seniors to incorporate into their daily lives.

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet Therapy, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, values the comforting and soothing effects that animals can have on people. The overarching goal is to contribute to a greater quality of life in as many ways as possible by targeting emotional, social, physiological, or cognitive needs.

Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Animal Assisted 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 mood enhancement and reduced blood pressure.

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

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 allowing them the opportunity to feel engaged. Incorporating Pet Therapy into seniors’ routines can act not only as a tool for stress reduction and improving 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 in areas like Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge.

A simple internet search can demonstrate an array of results with information about Pet Therapy providers. Details are provided about how time can be scheduled with therapy animals in ways that fit well into existing routines. Pet therapy can provide a variety of benefits, offering a manageable, accessible, and enjoyable form of therapy for seniors with an interest in animals.

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COVID-19

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As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, and with Waterloo Region declaring a state of emergency, we want to ensure that our clients and their families understand our infection control approaches which are designed to ensure the safety of our clients and our employees.
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