Chances are, if you don’t have a pet yourself, you know someone who does. Statistics vary, but anywhere from 67-70% of households have at least one pet, with cats and dogs topping the numbers. If you have a pet, you know how it can enrich your life. Did you know, however, that pets can be therapeutic for seniors? Let’s look at pet therapy and its benefits for senior home care in Miami, FL.
What Is Pet Therapy?
Also known as animal-assisted therapy (AAT), pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. Typically, pet therapy is used to help people recover from a health problem or manage a mental disorder. The animal’s handler will work with the pet and the individual with structured sessions that help patients meet specific treatment goals.
While cats and dogs are the most common animals who assist in pet therapy, they’re not the only ones. Animals must meet careful screening criteria in order to be considered for pet therapy. Some of these, in addition to cats and dogs, can include guinea pigs, horses, fish, and any other animal that can help a patient meet a specific therapeutic goal.
What Are the Benefits of Pet Therapy?
Because humans often build emotional bonds with animals, pet therapy can help patients overcome a number of physical and mental health issues. This can be as simple as producing a calming effect through the release of endorphins as a person pets an animal. That calming can help alleviate stress and improve a patient’s psychological state, making them more receptive to other treatments.
Pet therapy can do more than help a person feel happier and more relaxed to handle treatments, however. A pet therapy program can also include,
- Improvement of motor skills and joint movement
- Increasing self-esteem
- Improvement of assisted and independent movement
- Increasing verbal communication
- Improving interactions with others
- Encouraging activity involvement
- Motivating patients to exercise
In addition to therapy program benefits, interaction with an animal through pet therapy can also,
- Make a person feel happier
- Decrease loneliness and isolation
- Reduce boredom
- Build empathy and nurturing skills in children
- Improve relationships between patients and care providers
Who Can Benefit from Pet Therapy?
Because of its physical and emotional therapy applications, pet therapy can benefit a wide variety of people, including,
- People undergoing extensive medical interventions like chemotherapy
- People hospitalized with some chronic illnesses
- Veterans experiencing PTSD
- Stroke victims and people undergoing physical therapy
- People managing mental health disorders
- Seniors living in assisted living, long-term care facilities, or aging at home
Are You Looking for Home Care in Miami, FL?
Mazal Nursing Services offers expert caregivers in Miami who provide top-notch home care. Contact us to set up an appointment and discuss your loved one’s needs.