What are the benefits of dog therapies for the elderly? Today we answer this question in detail. It’s a fact that several studies from the last 30 years have shown that the presence of a pet can be beneficial in many aspects of the person. Animal-assisted therapy pursues a curative goal and uses the human-animal bond as an integral part of the treatment process.
Animal Assisted Therapies for Seniors
More and more groups are receiving this type of therapy, and it has been shown that older people who live in a residence achieve clear emotional benefits.
Generally, these people suffer from some health problems or social difficulties, since they often do not feel loved and it is difficult for them to communicate with other people. Contact with dogs, for example, helps them improve overall health by providing psychological and physical benefits.
The main objectives of performing therapies with dogs are:
1. Encourage physical activity.
2. Work on cognitive and sensory stimulation.
3. Encourage the expression of emotions and alleviate the feeling of loneliness.
4. Reinforce effective and playful communication.
5. Promote leisure time, the use of conversation, and memory activation.
The dog is the ideal animal to do this type of therapy because it is more dependent on the human being and comes to learn and obey more easily than other companion animals. This therapy is becoming an increasingly accepted method to help improve the lives of our grandparents.
In the hands of the expert therapists who carry out the interventions, the dogs become the tool and the channel that supports the professional’s socio-educational and psychosocial tasks.
The dogs that are used in the therapies are chosen through a specific selection, they are healthy, safe, and are trained to be able to carry out this type of activity. Those dogs are often called service dogs. They are of the appropriate age and build and possess the appropriate skills and abilities to make their participation beneficial. The therapy dog or a service dog is a dog specifically trained to be integrated into a therapeutic or educational program, as one more tool available to the professional.
What Are The Benefits of Dog Therapies For the Elderly?
There are many benefits that elderly people obtain in residences that participate in therapeutic work with a service dog for the elderly:
1. Improved self-esteem: dogs show their affection regardless of the age, health or personality of the person, helping to alleviate the feeling of loneliness.
2. Mood improvement: when this type of therapy is done, notable improvements are observed in the mood of the elderly who live in a residence.
3. The attraction of interest: the movements and play of the dog attract the attention and arouse the interest of the older person.
4. Reducing stress and lowering blood pressure: People who live in a residence often miss loving touch. Physical contact with the animal: stroking, touching or hugging, helps reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
5. Mind Stimulation – A pet attracts attention and provides mental stimulation through the senses of sight, touch, smell, and hearing.
6. Memory activation: having contact with a pet can bring back memories of old times, and this activates the memory of the elderly.
7. Promotion of physical activity: contact with a dog is an opportunity to play and show the physical abilities of the elderly person while having a fun time.
8. Social stimulation: dogs have been shown on several occasions to facilitate social contact and this can be useful for older people who live in a residence or who live alone, also improving the relationship with the health personnel/monitors of the Center.
9. Encouragement of good humor: a dog will always do something strange or funny and will provoke laughter in those people who have not smiled for a long time, thus helping to overcome depression.
10. Less medication: pets are considered preventive medicine. Your care and affection for them promote health and prolong life.
11. Increased sense of responsibility: Dog therapy gives you the opportunity to take responsibility for your own work.
Well, there you have it, the benefits of Dog Therapies for the Elderly. Feel free to share your thoughts about it below in the comments section.
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