England has long been considered a nation of animal lovers, and this is no different in our care homes! National Pet Month takes place in April each year, to celebrate and raise awareness of pets and pet ownership. At Borough Care, the happiness and wellbeing of our residents remains a top priority, so we offer them the opportunity to interact with pets on a regular basis. From the animals that live in the homes, to regular interactions with outside animals, this form of therapy is so important for residents.
Pet therapy, also referred to as animal assisted therapy, is a kind of therapy that uses pets as a form of companionship and treatment. The aim of therapy could be to improve an older person’s emotional, social, or cognitive abilities. We work with a variety of local companies to bring animals into our homes in a safe and enjoyable way for residents, and we also have several home pets.
Reducing Isolation and Loneliness
Spending time with pets can help to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It can also ease loneliness and encourage activity. Recently, the residents at Silverdale enjoyed a visit from Noah’s ART therapy animals and the response from the residents was amazing. They loved interacting with the various animals which included guinea pigs, rats, a tortoise and a very beautiful and well-behaved dog.
Positive Health Effects
The calming nature of a pet can increase levels of Oxytocin, which is the stress-reducing hormone, while also decreasing the production of cortisol, which is a producer of stress. The positive health effects of spending time with animals can have a drastic effect on blood pressure. Not just bringing a calming effect but reducing the mental-stress some older people can feel when they’re alone.
Pet therapy can have positive effects on unlocking memories in Dementia and Alzheimer patients, as it can encourage memories of previous experiences with pets. At Bryn Haven, residents live alongside Bryn, the care home’s very own cat. Bryn is a beautiful and confident black cat who loves to roam the halls and pop his head into residents rooms to say hello and have a cuddle.
Encouraging Pleasant Memories
At Borough Care, we have long been advocates of human and animal interaction as the benefits of spending time with animals are both physical and emotional. According to Alzheimers.net “A well-timed pet visit may help with anxiety and depression. It’s not uncommon to watch someone transition from emotionless to joyful when a pet enters the room, especially if it triggers pleasant memories.” Residents at Lisburne Court enjoy regular interaction with rabbit Toffee. Toffee has lived at the care home for a number of years now and loves being spoiled by residents and staff.
The emotional benefits of pet Therapy include increased self-esteem and confidence, improved social skills, reduced risk of depression, lessened levels of anxiety, reduced feelings of loneliness and an increased ability to show gentleness and caring. While the physical benefits can mean increased levels of mobility and exercise interacting with the animal, which, when combined with the emotional benefits, can lead to reduced blood pressure.
Each of our homes host regular, interactive sessions with animals for the benefit of our residents. To find out when the next one is in your loved one’s home, please check our noticeboards.