How Spending Time with Animals Can Be Beneficial for Seniors’ Health and Wellbeing – Calgary

Animal Assisted Therapy for Senior’s Health and Wellbeing – CalgaryAs we grow older and learn to better manage the challenges that come as a result, it becomes deeply important to find little sources of comfort and joy for the sake of our mental health and, by extension, our overall wellbeing.

We each find comfort in our own unique places and activities, whether it be reading, art, music, or other hobbies, and one wonderful and interactive option worth looking into is the therapeutic effect that can be offered by animals. Time spent with animals can act as a unique form of therapy that can be truly and meaningfully beneficial and fulfilling for seniors, and can be an enjoyable and soothing way to pursue a better and more holistic state of wellbeing. Whether it be time spent with one’s own pet or that of a friend or family member, or whether it be through sessions with a special therapy animal, seniors can gain a lot from connecting with animals.

What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animal Assisted Therapy, also known as Pet Therapy, is a wonderful form of therapy that uses the soothing effect of animals in a purposeful way as a tool for treatment. The goal that underpins Animal Assisted Therapy is to help seniors experience a better quality of life, emotionally, socially, psychologically, and cognitively.

How Animals Can Help

Time spent with animals has been proven to be helpful and enriching for many seniors in ways that can help in the pursuit of both mental and physical health. Studies have shown that even a short amount of time spent interacting or connecting with an animal can instantly improve mood and lower blood pressure.

Among some of the many benefits that have been linked to spending some time with animals are:

  • Relieves Boredom
  • Releases Oxytocin, which has a calming effect
  • Provides a Sense of Comfort and Calm
  • Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
  • Lessens Symptoms of Depression
  • Increases Levels of Engagement, drawing reserved individuals out of their shells
  • Improves Motor Skills or Mobility, from petting or walking animals
  • Decreases Feelings of Isolation
  • Decreases Anxiety and Stress

Socializing with Animals

An unfortunate reality for many seniors is that they feel a greater sense of isolation or have fewer opportunities for socialization in older age. While they may not be human, animals can provide an invaluable opportunity for seniors to connect and socialize, allowing them to feel engaged and stimulated. Integrating Animal Assisted Therapy or just some special time spent with a pet into weekly routines can not only be helpful to seniors in terms of reducing stress and improving mood, but can also be a wonderful social opportunity that can help to supplement time spent with other people.

Integrating Time with Animals

As more and more information becomes available regarding the positive impacts that time spent with animals can have, Animal Assisted Therapy itself becomes more accessible in more areas, including in Calgary. A quick internet search can result in information related to providers of Animal Assisted Therapy, and time spent with specially trained therapy animals can be scheduled and incorporated into seniors’ routines.  If something as structured as Animal Assisted Therapy doesn’t quite feel suitable, just spending time with a friend’s pet, or looking into the possibility of getting a pet for yourself or your loved one are also great options for seniors to explore. If your loved one has a love or interest related to animals, they could benefit greatly from making some time to spend in the company of some furry friends.

Contact us today for a Free Home Care Assessment by a Nurse to discuss how our services in Calgary can help support you or someone you care about.


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