Pet therapy, or as it’s formally described, Animal Assisted Therapy is a form of treatment that pairs animals with specific traits, and patients with specific needs. Comfort animals improve physical, emotional, and cognitive function is many patients while reducing loneliness. Early anecdotal evidence supporting the value of AAT included observation military hospitals and at the Mayo Clinic.
Pet therapy in elderly patients is particularly valuable in reduced isolation. Institutionalized Alzheimer’s patients saw improved nutritional intake when treated with AAT according to one major study. Anecdotal evidence reports that some patients with advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia see a marked reduction in anxiety and agitation when receiving regular pet therapy.
The ideal therapy pet is gentle and placid, never aggressive. While a variety of animals are used in AAT, dogs are particularly well suited for therapy sessions with elderly patients. For the Alzheimer’s or dementia patient still living at home pet therapy may prolong viable home care options by reducing confusion, improving clarity and assisting with memory function. Particularly in seniors who were life long pet lovers, it is a window into the past allowing elderly patients to recall long forgotten animal companions. Pet or dog therapy provides a social context for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s to share time with family members in a comfortable, non-confrontation atmosphere. Petting and stroking an animal allows the patient a degree of physical intimacy sometimes no longer possible between patient and caregiver.
best organic hemp oil for dogs for an elder patient receiving care at home starts with a look at local resources. Many volunteer groups provide companion animals and formal in-home pet therapy help. Local animal welfare organizations may be able to assist in finding a volunteer group. Volunteer animals have been screened and their owners are trained in proper AAT protocols. Several animals may initially visit the in-home patient until a proper match is determined. Professional companies providing AAT can also be found in many areas. Professional AAT therapists are cross-trained in companion animal training and in pet therapy practice. Cost vary for professional AAT services.