In a world with cutting-edge technology and advanced healthcare practices, it’s easy to forget that simple things can have a big impact on our well-being. Pet therapy is one of those simple things that has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on human health. In fact, did you know that animal therapy helps to reduce the risk of depression?
It can also help to reduce loneliness among seniors. Not only that, pets are more than just great companions. Some pets are great service animals and can help to alert seniors about different threats to their health or wellbeing. Even if you aren’t looking for a service animal, pets, in general, are amazing sources of both comfort and support. It’s even been found that dog owners live longer than those that don’t own a dog.
If you’re a senior living in Florida, you might want to know more about pet therapy and how it can benefit you so make sure to keep reading.
Have You Heard of Pet Therapy?
Pet therapy involves people interacting with animals. Basically, it’s an alternative form of therapy that can be therapeutic just like in individual or group sessions. Keep in mind that pet therapy doesn’t have to be conducted in a formal setting. If you are a pet owner and simply spend time with your pet, this could also be a form of pet therapy. The interaction with your pet is what’s considered to be therapeutic especially if you have any preexisting conditions.
One common misconception is that only dogs are used but they aren’t the only type of animal used for this. Other animals are used as well such as cats or rabbits, and sometimes birds, reptiles, and rodents. It mainly depends on your preference. Another word for this is pet-assisted therapy and this therapy is a good way to help seniors cope with health issues or to recover from an existing illness. Pet therapy is beneficial for those that may have mental disorders or a type of cancer as well.
While those may have been multiple advantages to the practice, there’s more. At least 74% of people that use pet-assisted therapy have said that they have experienced improvement regarding a mental health condition. Even 54% have said they have experienced an improvement in general mood just from owning a pet.
Why Is Pet Therapy Important for Seniors?
Pet therapy is important for seniors because of the many benefits it can provide. Therapy with animals can help to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help to improve mood and overall mental health. Animal therapy can also be very useful in improving social connections.
Not only can it help you connect with other pets or animals, but it can also help you to connect with other people. This type of therapy can help to build relationships between seniors living in Florida and their pets. While fatigue and pain can be decreased, other benefits affect seniors as well.
People that may be suffering from cardiovascular disease or undergoing cancer treatment, are both issues that would call for pet therapy. If a senior is living in a long-term care facility or suffering from a mental problem, these are other reasons pet therapy would be appropriate. Seniors who engage in pet therapy and activities with their pets can improve their physical health and you will also notice reduced blood pressure as well as a lower heart rate.
Does Any Data Support Animal Therapy and Its Advantages?
Animal therapy has been proven to be beneficial, especially for seniors. A study found that seniors that received therapy with animals had a decrease in depression and it doesn’t just stop there. Most seniors that own a pet report 30% fewer calls for medical assistance or treatment.
Dog ownership, by the way, has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and this is a great way to support the health of seniors while raising awareness to cardiovascular health.
The Importance of Finding the Right Pet
If you’re thinking about getting a pet, you might want to really consider it based on what you can handle. Senior dogs are often said to be better for seniors and this is mainly because they are a bit more calm and quiet than what you might experience if you got a puppy. You also have to consider the maintenance a pet requires and what you’re able to do. If you don’t want to do too much moving around when you don’t feel up to it, a cat or even a bird would be a great option.
If you want a pet that will help you to exercise more or increase how mobile you are, a dog would be an appropriate choice. While it’s important to find the right pet that is a good fit for you, you’ll want to choose a pet that fits into your lifestyle.
Pet-assisted therapy or owning a pet, in general, can be extremely beneficial for seniors. If you’re a senior living in Florida, a pet can mean gaining more of a reason to enjoy the summer weather and to get outdoors. There are plenty of pet adoption services as well as dog breeders if you prefer a puppy. The important thing is to remember to get a pet that suits your lifestyle and your current state of health.
Not only could a pet provide you with love, comfort, and opportunities for relaxation, but you will also experience less anxiety, more focus, and better social skills. If you’re hoping to advance your health and your overall well-being, consider getting a pet or participating in pet-assisted therapy.