Study after study has shown the emotional and health benefits of owning and caring for a pet. But many elders and disabled people are unable to keep a pet full time due to physical or mental limitations. This is why we encourage four-legged support staff at Silver Leaf. Being visited regularly by a well-trained comfort or therapy dog brightens our clients’ days. Here are just some of the measurable results of pets being part of home caregiving:

  • Improved ability to remember and share life stories
  • Pets can help our caregivers encourage and motivate seniors to get outdoors, get more exercise, which also gives them the feeling of purpose
  • Many senior citizens who are unresponsive to other forms of therapy tend to feel livelier and more talkative with a visiting dog
  • Animals who have been trained specifically for pet therapy can help seniors improve their motor skills

The benefits of the human-animal bond have been documented for centuries, yet the relationship between a client and a therapy animal seems to extend beyond simple companionship. There are also emotional, physical, and mental benefits. Of course, if a client doesn’t enjoy animals or has allergies, we respect their needs and leave our furry friends at home.

Emotionally, pets can provide the elderly with a feeling of companionship, as well as:

  • A sense of gentleness and caring since animals are known to be instinctive nurturers, especially to ailing humans.
  • Increased social interaction with caregivers who bring a pet into their home
  • Pets can alleviate depression and anxiety works as the client forming a bond with a pet
  • Reduced loneliness by spending time with and caring for a pet, even for a few minutes
  • Increased mobility from petting, walking, and brushing the pet
  • Pet therapy can also provide significant mental benefits to patients, especially those with memory loss:
  • Mental stimulation through contact with pet owning caregivers
  • Memory stimulation by comparing the therapy pet to other pets they may have owned