There are so many reasons that people love being pet owners: unconditional love, companionship, petting the animal’s soft fur, and cuddles. These are things that many seniors miss because they can no longer handle the stress of owning a pet.
One of the great services that may be available at a senior living community is pet therapy. Pet therapy is typically a lower-intensity form of therapy that has many benefits for seniors. The type of activity with the therapy animals depends on the capabilities of each resident. In assisted living communities, residents will most likely participate in visitation therapy, where a certified therapy animal will come to the community to visit and interact with residents for a short period of the day.
Research shows that seniors with pets decline in health at a much slower pace than isolated or depressed seniors, but even just a fifteen-minute bonding session with an animal can make a difference. Interaction with animals has been shown to produce hormonal changes within the brain. Prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone) are produced by the brain, lowering stress levels.
Pet Therapy at Avista Magnolia
At Avista Magnolia, we provide our residents with animal visitation therapy on a regular basis. Recently, we even had a Sherman Peabody, a small horse, come by to interact with the residents! We understand the value that interaction with animals brings to the senior population. Our seniors receive a number of benefits from pet therapy, including:
- Improved social skills.
- A stronger sense of purpose.
- Stimulation of the brain.
- Reduced blood pressure.
- Decreased levels of depression, stress, and anxiety.
- Increased levels of physical activity.
Pet therapy is just one of many beneficial activities that we provide for our residents. If you feel your loved one would benefit from assisted living communities with activities and outings for everyone, schedule a tour with us today.