Research shows that the presence and interaction with animals reduce agitation, feelings of isolation depression, and anxiety in memory care assisted living residents. Having a dog or cat can provide emotional support, comfort, and joy. A furry companion can stimulate the senses while at the same time encouraging communication and socialization, something that residents in memory care need to enhance their quality of life.
Therapeutic Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy in Memory Care Assisted Living
Dementia is an irreversible and progressive disease that starts with mild memory loss and then leads to loss of the ability to carry a conversation, a vegetative state, and then death. Dementia is one of the leading causes of disability among senior adults worldwide with nearly 10 million new cases every year.
The behavioral, emotional, and psychological changes can be worrisome to both the person suffering from the disease and the family. Due to the challenges of managing the manifestations, families sort the expertise of memory care assisted living facilities.
Memory care facilities utilize trained animals, mostly dogs and cats to address the feelings of loneliness, boredom, and helplessness. The concept of animal therapy is backed up by hundreds of researches.
Multiple studies reveal that the presence of a friendly animal helps improve mood. Based on one study conducted at an adult day care center for adults with dementia, the study shows that allowing older adults with dementia to engage in activities with dogs reduces the feeling of loneliness and anxiety.
Another study observed that pet therapy has a calming effect on memory care assisted living residents. Animal-assisted therapy also is effective in lowering blood pressure levels.
In another study, animal-assisted therapy decreases behavioral problems. Agitation and aggression are common behavioral issues for people with Alzheimer’s, and these signs were significantly reduced for patients exposed to pet therapy. Stroking the soft fur of a pet has a calming effect and reduces anxious behaviors.
Positive Therapeutic Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy
The presence of a pet also encourages social interaction, motivating memory care patients to communicate through words or touch. This may also trigger positive emotions as they recall beloved pets residents once had.
Pet therapy is a sensory stimulant through the fur’s warmth, softness, and movement.
Animal-assisted therapy also improves physical activity as walking, petting, caring for, and playing with pets allows residents to engage in physical movements.
Moreover, a loyal pet companion reduces the feeling of isolation. Spending time with animals makes residents in memory care assisted living more connected and feel less lonely. Because of a pet’s unconditional love, a special bond is created, responsible for boosting oxytocin levels.
Overall, animal-assisted therapy provides positive and meaningful effects to residents with dementia. It improves mood and has calming effects. Pet therapy is beneficial for sensory stimulation, increased social motivation, increased physical activity, and decreased behavioral problems, all extremely therapeutic for those in memory care facilities.
Even before the creation of memory care assisted living, humans used animals as companions because animals are loyal and can put a smile on our faces.
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Oxbow Living offers Assisted Living & Memory Care out of Nebraska and to the Surrounding Cities: Ashland, South Bend, Greenwood, Murdock, Elmwood, Ithaca, Mead