Pets have the rare ability to make everyone around them happy, but did you know they can also make us healthier?
Animal-assisted therapy, also known as pet therapy, has been shown to have physical, emotional and psychological benefits for all age groups, particularly senior citizens. In addition to reducing anxiety and depression, pet therapy has also been linked to lower blood pressure, reduced stress and increased social interaction.
According to The Health Benefits of Companion Animals1 [link: http://bit.ly/2zEcl6w], numerous studies have highlighted the physiological and psychological effects of the human-animal bond. Some include:
- Increased levels of dopamine and endorphins (hormones associated with happiness and wellbeing) and a decrease of the stress hormone cortisol, following a single interactive session with a dog.
- Decreased pulse rate and muscle tension – as well as increased skin temperature – in elderly people watching an aquarium.
- Increased calmness and improved social interactions among Alzheimer’s patients when they received visits from Golden Retrievers.
- A single pet therapy session reduced patients’ fear by 37% prior to serious medical treatment.
- Further reduction of cardiovascular stress response in the presence of a dog compared to family and friends.
- Reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease (lower systolic blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and plasma triglycerides).
Recognizing the immense value these benefits, Alliance Homecare has partnered with Beau the Rescue to offer one-on-one pet therapy sessions for seniors and their Alliance home health aides. The collaboration brings “man’s best friend” into clients’ homes for quality pet interaction on a monthly basis, reinforcing the Alliance’s high-touch approach.
Beau, a rescue from MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue, was a neglect case. Unwanted and unloved, he was placed on the euthanasia list where MaPaw saved his life. From the day Beau came into handler and owner Caroline Loevner’s life they wanted to pay it forward.
Now registered therapy dog through Pet Partners [link: http://www.petpartners.org], Beau makes monthly 45-minute, interactive visits to select Alliance Homecare clients, complete with petting and basic tricks. He also services persons living with HIV/AIDS, children with pediatric cancer and persons with disabilities.
If you or someone you love could reap the rewards of pet therapy, contact Alliance Homecare at (877) 687-7380 to speak with our expert Care Managers today.
Beau the Rescue can be found on Instagram (@beau_the_rescue_dog) and on Facebook.
References: 1. Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) brochure. The Health Benefits of Companion Animals. http://bit.ly/2zEcl6w. Accessed January 11, 2018.