For those in nursing homes and other living institutions, they can offer multi-level relief.
A trip to the spa, a long walk in the forest or time spent catching up with an old friend- these are all ways we normally engage in day-to-day “therapy”.
But for those living in nursing homes, pastimes like these aren’t always on the table. And neither is owning a pet, one of the easiest ways to help relax.
Studies have shown that pets, such as dogs, can offer therapeutic value to people’s lives. This is especially true for those who are lonely, or living in difficult situations that can be alienating or stressful. .
Therapy animals offer some answers.
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These creatures-often dogs, but not always- can offer comfort, companionship and emotional support. For those suffering through a tough health-related or emotional situation, it can be good to consider connecting with an association such as The American Kennel Club. This group holds a list of recommended therapy dog organizations throughout the U.S.A. The dogs don’t travel to individual homes but visit institutions on a regular basis.
The health benefits are wide. Interacting with trained therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. In turn, the dogs can also lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and can help build trust, empathy and teamwork in an environment.
Having an animal come to visit also gives patients something to look forward to, during their day or week.
For more information on the benefits of interacting with animals, click here.