Benefits of Pets Visiting Nursing Homes
Today, patients checking into nursing homes and senior living facilities are finding more than a clean bed, a friendly nurse and companionship. Dogs, cats, birds, fish and an occasional pig are also greeting them with a warm welcome.
Although some often question the use of pets in nursing homes, recently, we’ve seen an increasing trend toward pet-therapy programs for the elderly. Critics aside, pets don’t seem to be getting in the way of patient care. So why does this trend stick? Because it works. People need to be needed and animals need people.
In facilities where pets are kept, patients experience a “homier and livelier” atmosphere. Residents are happier and more productive and staff members are more relaxed. Although pets can mean additional tasks for staff members, their jobs can become less stressful because of the uplifted spirits of their patients. Even the pets benefit from the constant attention. Picture fat cats strutting around patients who love to feed them.
All members of your facility can experience a number of benefits from a pet therapy program. Here are the 10 ways a friendly pet will benefit your residents:
- Facilitates human contact
- Fulfills humans’ need to nurture
- Provides natural physical therapy – Petting an animal is great for arthritic fingers
- Relieves stress
- Combats depression
- Improves psychological well-being
- Assists in recall of memories (e.g. Alzheimer's disease)
- Decreases Alzheimer's patients’ anxious outbursts
- Provides stimulation
- Provides something to look forward to
If pets are properly taken care of, and if the nursing home staff has a plan in place, your facility is sure to reap the benefits. Have questions about the risk involved? Contact an ‘A’ Team member.
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