Woman holding dog, smiling while sitting on couch

6 Benefits Of Pet Therapy For Seniors In Memory Care

Pets can touch where it matters Ė the heart. Sadly, some people lack genuine care and empathy, and that’s where pets come to the rescue. Today, more seniors welcome pets lovingly into their homes as a companion. Pet therapy for seniors has greatly improved focus, socialization, and stabilized mood for those in memory care assisted living in Simi Valley.

What Is Pet Therapy?

Being around animals or stroking a furry pet seems to have this calming effect on seniors. It has a wide range of therapeutic or health benefits that include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

Pet therapy, also referred to as Animal-Assisted Therapy, uses animals such as dogs and cats to help seniors cope with feelings of isolation and helplessness or other health problems. Having pets around also gives older people more reasons to get out of bed because they feel needed.

Interaction with animals as therapy helps induce serotonin production, otherwise known as the feel-good hormone in the brain, which makes seniors feel more alert, active, and happy. In addition, pet therapy has been very effective in coping with hypertension, stroke, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

Health facilities or senior homes such as memory care assisted living in Simi Valley, offer pet therapy for seniors. The pets provided are appropriately trained, cleaned, and vaccinated. They are strictly screened and paired to fit every senior.

Having pets as companions is beneficial in dealing with feelings of loneliness and depression because some families may not be able to visit their seniors as much as they wanted to frequently.

6 Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Seniors may appear socially withdrawn or depressed, and pet therapy can breathe new life into their monotonous daily routine. Below are the benefits that seniors can get from pet therapy:

 

1. Improves Mobility

Most seniors would have reduced physical activities as they age and would resort to staying on the couch or bed the entire day. With pets around, older adults have more reasons to go outdoors and stay active. Seniors who have to walk their dogs daily have increased mobility or physical exercise, which significantly helps strengthen flexibility, endurance, stamina, and overall health.

 

2. Boosts Self-Confidence

Once you reach retirement age, you would have reduced or limited activities and engagement with other people, which could affect how you perceive your self-worth and the world. Taking care of pets is a responsibility, and seniors get that extra boost of self-confidence knowing that they can achieve that despite their age.

Pets give a new meaning to seniors who have lost the spark and thirst for life. Knowing that they are responsible for another life gives them that sense of pride and purpose every single day.

 

Two senior women smiling and sitting on couch with kitten

 

3. Encourages Communication

Seniors who have dementia may have difficulty communicating their thoughts to other people. It can be tough to decipher whether your message is getting across or would need more clarification. The cognitive decline in seniors with dementia has become so apparent that family members find it challenging to connect or spark communication effectively.

Speech and memory decline when people get old Ė but pets rush to the scene once again. Pets encourage mental stimulation in seniors. With pet therapy, seniors can communicate effectively and without fear of judgment. Seniors may fear being misunderstood by others, so they tend to keep to themselves. However, pets give them undivided attention and affection. That is why seniors feel more comfortable opening up to or communicating with pets.

 

4. Beats the Blues

Having lost a spouse or becoming inactive or retired from an active lifestyle due to old age may keep grandma or grandpa grumpy and isolated all day long. The feelings of isolation can be lingering, and seniors feel very lonely, especially when they don’t have any companions at home or in a facility.

The usual “blues” may develop into periods of anxiety and depression, which impacts a senior’s social life, mental health, and general well-being.† With pet therapy in place, seniors look forward to jumping out of bed, fixing meals, and getting more active with their playful furry friends. It gives them more reasons to smile and burst into laughter because they enjoy the company of their pets.

Pets have become a “happy pill” for many seniors whose kids have grown up and have become too busy for regular visits.

 

5. Reduces Stress

Regular interactions with pets help seniors feel more calm and relaxed. This is especially helpful for elderly patients with dementia who frequently get agitated and anxious without emotional triggers.

Pet therapy for seniors helps them deal with stress healthily or proactively. Bonding with pets has been proven to decrease stress levels while also increasing the serotonin levels in seniors.†††

 

6. Extends Life!

Seniors enjoy life at its fullest with pets included in their memory care assisted living in Simi Valley. When seniors smile more, they also embrace a positive mindset and mental health. Happier people tend to live longer compared to those who are lonely and depressed.

With that being said, pet therapy helps promote happiness in its most gentle and playful sense and thus extends seniors’ lifespan. The quality of life spent is more valuable than the length of time or years, but you can enjoy both worlds with pet therapy.

Spending time with a pet is a powerful way to combat loneliness and isolation, bringing comfort and companionship while reducing stress and promoting overall health and wellness. Learn more about pet therapy and how it can improve the lives of seniors.

 

Pet Therapy – Beyond Companionship†

Pet therapy has a powerful impact on the lives of seniors. Beyond companionship, pets can provide seniors immense health benefits that no other over-the-counter medication can provide.†

Pets are furry friends that are known to be loyal, genuine, and loving. Daily interactions with pets in memory care assisted living in Simi Valley help elderly patients feel that there is more to life, even in their retirement age.

Age is still “just a number” for seniors. Don’t let that intimidate or threaten you. There is more to life than waiting it out or letting the golden years go to waste. Pet therapy can create a more fun and lovely twist to retirement with the help of your furry friend.