It is not only a theory; studies prove that dogs make us feel better. Spending time around animals improves a variety of different conditions for children, adults, and seniors alike. Pet therapy is an animal-assisted therapy that uses dogs to help people recover from or better cope with health problems like heart disease, cancer, and other ailments. In senior living communities, pet therapy provides comfort and enjoyment for residents. It is a mild treatment, but studies have shown that seniors who regularly interact with pets are emotionally, mentally, and even physically healthier than those who do not.
In the past, moving into a community meant that a person would no longer be around animals unless they went to visit someone outside of the communities. That is simply no longer the case with more and more communities offering pet therapy (including Franklin Park!).
While dogs of all shapes and sizes are more commonly therapy animals, cats have also proven to have therapeutic benefits. Cats’ purrs are especially healing for conditions that affect bone density.
Seniors who receive pet therapy can experience many benefits including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved cardiovascular health
- A higher level of endorphins which promote a calming effect
- Lower level of physical pain
- An automatic relaxation response and in some cases, a reduced amount of need for medication
- Lifted spirit and less depression
- Decreased feelings of isolation
- More communication
- Increased comfort
- Larger sense of community
- Reduced boredom
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved speech and emotional disorders
- Reduced loneliness
All of the reasons above illustrate why we welcome therapy dogs into our communities – to spend time with our residents. Franklin Park Senior Living wants our independent, assisted living, and memory care residents to live the best life possible – and this activity helps us achieve that. Throughout our communities, you will see furry visitors enjoying the residents’ company. In addition to dogs, we have the occasional unorthodox therapy animal stop by including ducks, llamas, lemurs, and even Patagonian maras.
If you would like to visit one of our communities during a pet therapy time, please contact one of our communities for more information.