• Brookside

ANIMALS AND THE ELDERLY – THERAPY, COMPANIONSHIP AND SUPPORT

It's no secret that animals can make great companions. They offer us unconditional love and support, and they're always there when we need them. For elderly people, who may be dealing with loneliness, isolation, or other issues, a visit from a furry friend can be a true blessing.


Animals provide us with companionship and unconditional love, which can be incredibly beneficial for elderly people. Research has shown that owning a pet can lead to improved mental health and increased feelings of happiness and well-being. Animals can also help elderly people stay active and sociable. Walking a dog, for example, provides an opportunity to get some exercise and meet new people.


ANIMALS OFFER UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Animals have a unique ability to offer us unconditional love. No matter what our mood or situation, they are always there for us with a wagging tail or purr. Research has shown that stroking a pet can lower blood pressure and release feel-good hormones like oxytocin. For people who live without their family or loved ones, having a pet or a visit from an animal can alleviate loneliness and depression. In fact, studies have shown that animal companionship can be just as effective as medication for treating certain mental health conditions.


ANIMALS OFFER EMOTIONAL SUPPORT TO THE ELDERLY

There is no denying that animals offer emotional support. Some can even be trained to offer a level of emotional companionship to owners and those with whom they spend time. They provide us with companionship, love, and security, and can be therapeutic in many ways. For elderly people, spending time with an animal can offer much-needed emotional support.


Animals offer us a non-judgmental form of companionship and love. They are always there for us, no matter what. And, for elderly people who may be feeling isolated or lonely, this can be invaluable.


Spending time with an animal can also be therapeutic. Stroking a dog or cat can help to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine – the happy hormones. This can be invaluable for someone who might be feeling a level of isolation or depression.



ANIMALS ARE QUITE SIMPLY INTERESTING!

There is no doubt that some animals can be interesting to look at and observe. We don't see a variety of animals in our daily lives, so it can be a nice change of pace to see one up close. Some elderly people are not mobile enough to stroke a dog or cat, but would enjoy seeing a colourful parrot or majestic owl. The different colours, textures, and behaviours make them fascinating creatures and can pique the interest of someone who might only see familiar surroundings and people day in and day out.


THERAPY ANIMALS FOR THE ELDERLY

Animal therapy, or pet therapy, is a growing field that is being used to help people recover from injury or illness, and to improve mental wellbeing. Dogs are usually the animals of choice for pet therapy and they are well behaved and friendly choices for retirement homes


Retirement home residents can benefit greatly from the companionship of a dog when visits from family and friends cannot be a daily occurrence and this is not just limited to dogs; rabbits, guinea pigs, fish and horses have also been shown to have a good track record in reducing anxiety and improving general wellbeing in the elderly


IT IS FUN TO SPEND TIME WITH ANIMALS!

There is something special about petting an animal that just makes you feel good. It can be enjoyable and relaxing, for both the petter and the petted. The companionship that an animal provides is conducive to good wellbeing for residents of a retirement home as they cannot make elderly people feel like a burden or inadequate in any way.


WE LOVE ANIMALS AT BROOKSIDE RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME

We like to think that we offer a diverse itinerary of activities and events here at Brookside but we might draw the line at snakes and spiders. We certainly haven’t been asked for a visit from these animals yet, that is for sure!


We do, however, occassionally have visits from animals and every time one of our furry or feathered friends’ visits, the home is buzzing with joy thereafter which is testament to the benefits expounded in this article. We are lucky though as Lily the Labradoodle is always on site as she lives with one of the staff!

 

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