We have all heard of therapy animals, right? In the past, dogs were considered to be the only type of animal that could be used for therapy. The first thing that we think of tends to be the seeing eye dogs that those who have a visual impairment use, but this is an older way of thinking about the therapy animal. While seeing eye dogs and therapy dogs in general do serve a very important purpose, this is not the only way that animals can be used to help those with health issues.
For example, a lot of care homes have cats in the home. Having a furry companion brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces. When animals aren’t a choice, something seems to be missing from our lives. To get around this, a nursing home in Japan introduced robotic cats to their home to work with dementia patients with allergies, making the global new as a result. Although this didn’t serve quite the same purpose, the idea was the same. By having animals interacting with people, and vice versa, there is a certain mental and physical health benefit that is gained. Most people love animals, and being around them helps.
There’s science supporting the use of therapy animals when it comes to care. Studies show that 60 seconds of petting a dog each day can actually boost energy levels and mood, effectively acting as a mild antidepressant. This works for the young and the old alike. There’s nothing special about the dog, just the fact that a warm, furry animal is providing you joy and companionship. This alone is helpful for a lot of people.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am definitely a dog person. I have an English bulldog and a terrier mix at home. But while the dog might be man’s best friend, they are not the only animal that can serve this beneficial purpose.
Recently, a care home out in Indiana had several horses come to visit residents. During this time of quarantine where it’s not possible to have human visitors come and volunteer or spend time at a nursing home, having animals help out is more important than ever before. It’s good to see that there are people out there that realize this and are using the information to help others.
One of the great things about in-home care is that the level of assistance that someone receives can be customized however it needs to be. If your loved one is an animal person, they don’t need to give up their pets because of relocating. By staying in their own home, they are able to maintain their normal routines in a pretty steady manner. If they have a dog, cat, or another pet that they cherish, they can continue to have it.
Pets are an important part of our lives. Moving into a care facility can create complications if pets are involved. This is just another reason why we are such strong advocates of in-home care.
Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to learn more about.