For offering opportunities that engage and bring purpose to people of all ages – especially those who are 55 and over – one invaluable tool can be the companionship of a pet. Engaging with a pet is a great way to promote overall wellness and health, reduce stress, provide companionship and comfort, and combat isolation and loneliness. To improve the life of your loved one, it could be time to consider pet therapy.
Does your aging loved one already own a pet or are they considering getting one? Are they also considering a move to a retirement community? If both of these are something your loved one is thinking about, you may want to take the time to ensure that they’re looking into a pet friendly community. This can be the deciding factor as to whether or not a particular community is ideal for someone in their golden years.
Pet Therapy – The Different Types
Obviously, pet therapy for older adults involves interaction between some kind of animal and the individual. But there are different kinds of pet therapy that can be pursued:
- Animal-assisted therapy: If extreme rehabilitation is needed by an older individual, this form of pet therapy is used because it is one of the more intensive kinds.
- Visitation therapy: Where pet therapies are concerned, this is one of the most common. Either in a retirement community or at their home, a pet makes visits.
- Ownership therapy: As one would likely imagine, this is the kind of therapy that takes place when the individual in question actually owns the animal/pet. It lives with them and they care for it.
There are numerous advantages to pet therapy including mental, physical, and emotional benefits. Let’s look at each of those.
Pet therapy offers the following mental benefits, particularly for those with some type of cognitive impairment (i.e., dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.):
- Calming negative dementia-associated behaviors
- Memory stimulation
- Improved sense of meaning and purpose
- Strengthened ability for pet care planning
- Increased socialization
- Improved mental stimulation
Pet therapy offers the following physical benefits:
- For more intensive programs like swimming with dolphins and/or horseback riding, improved physical skills
- Reduction in anxiety, stress, and depression levels
- Lowered blood pressure
- From caring for a pet, more mobility is possible
- Increased exercise levels
When retirement age individuals participate in pet therapy, they may enjoy the following emotional benefits:
- An increased ability to show caring and gentleness
- Depression risks go down
- Improved social skills
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Lower anxiety levels
Discovery Village At Dominion – A Pet Friendly Community
Discovery Village At Dominion offers several distinct options for retirement living and we are a pet friendly community that welcomes our residents’ furry friends. We understand how crucial pets can be in the lives of today’s retired individuals. Residents can continue with their daily routine of playing fetch, walking their pets, and interacting with them as they did before joining our community. In this manner, throughout their stay here, residents can remain active and fit, feeling motivated in a cohesive environment.