Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Seniors with Mental Illness

Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Seniors with Mental Illness

By Brandon Butler

 fur & feathers

dog walking

Photo via Pixabay

There have been numerous studies centered on how keeping pets has mental and physical benefits for people, and most of these studies reveal that being a pet owner can truly help people stay healthy. A pet can also be a huge advantage in a home with a senior, particularly if the individual is suffering from a long-term mental condition. Animal-assisted therapy can work wonders for people with different health disorders, which is why it is becoming an increasingly popular trend in places like hospitals and assisted living facilities for the elderly. The following are some of the benefits of using pet therapy for senior people with mental illnesses:

  • Maintaining a daily routine

As most caregivers know, elderly people suffering from mental illnesses like dementia often have difficulties in performing their daily tasks. However, having a dog can change this as dogs require a regular schedule for feeding, exercising, and so on. Doing the same things with the pets every day, like walking your dog, can help seniors remember routines and thus adds structure to their lives, which keeps them calmer. This also boosts their self-esteem, trust, and mobility, making it easier to care for themselves. If, for some reason, a senior citizen can’t have a dog of their own, becoming a dog walker is a great option. Though it may not be best for those with dementia, for those with depression, dog walking will provide many of the same benefits that come with owning a dog while also boosting their income. Continue reading