One of the common therapies for those who are living in a later stage of their lives, or those who are struggling with their chronic diseases, and those who seem to have very little to look forward to need to be around the good energy of animals. The therapy which is called pet therapy or, among professional, animal assisted therapy is well-known, tried and trusted remedy to bring pleasure for depressed, diseased and aged persons.
Research shows that elderly people have fewer jobs to think about, so they can free their heads from the loneliness they might be experiencing. Such persons are more vulnerable to the risk of depression. Living away from families can add to their loneliness. Having fewer visitors and less social interaction may progressively make them introverts. The conditions worsen due to deteriorating physical conditions most of these people face.
In such times, an expression of unconditional love towards these people can make wonders. Having busy family members and long physical distances between them prevent such expressions of emotions. In such cases, people require out-of- the-home professional care. A friend that can give friendly ear to their problems is always welcome. But still such a friend cannot linger around them all the time.
What is the solution?
The solution lies in pet therapy. “A small pet is every so often an excellent mate for the sick, for long enduring cases specifically”, Florence Nightingale wrote in 1859. Apart from just lingering around the elders, small pets give their owners a sense of responsibility. This sense of responsibility is very beneficial for their psychological state. This makes them feel important to care for a pet and they feel themselves useful as part of society.
Moreover, these small creatures keep elders busy. Elders after owning these pets and associating them with themselves, start caring for them as a family member.
This helps by distracting them from their worries.
Research has shown that dog owners are less likely to get heart attacks.
Moreover, those people who have gone through a heart attack can increase their survival chances within one year of a heart attack if they take up the ownership of a pet. Pets are equally beneficial in homes or in the nursing home environment.
Pet lovers show a significant decrease in symptoms related to dementia. They start taking part in social events, take an interest in their diet, show decrease in agitated behavior, and dissociate themselves from loneliness.
The therapy works in two ways.
1. The pets present a friend to the elderly people, and sick as the case may be.
2. they affect the hormonal balance of the said person.
A study on pet therapy was recently conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia. This study suggests that interaction of pets and humans cause a change in the hormonal balance of the humans. This change helps the elderly people to fight depression and other kinds of stress. Experiments on such interactions show that stroking the pet for a few minutes initiate many positive hormones in human beings. In addition to the release of positive hormones, this relationship results in decreasing the level of stressing hormones.
Do you have any comments to share about your experience with helpful pets?