Animal therapy has multiple benefits that holistically influence the individual with dementia in beneficial ways. Again and again, we’ve seen the improvements animal therapy brings to our residents’ mental, physical and emotional wellbeing at the Jura Care Village. We’re talking not only about dogs and cats, but also about birds, tortoises, peacocks and farm animals like cute baby lambs. And so, we would like to mention the most significant benefits we’ve noticed when making use of animals in a therapeutic manner.
Here are the top 7 benefits of Animal Therapy:
- It inspires compassion, and engages the person’s natural tendency to care for someone or something, whether patting a dog or cat, stroking a baby lamb while it sits in their lap or watching a peacock display its majestic feathers with pride. Read Blog Post: ‘Cat Walked Into Our Lives.’
2. It can alter the person’s mood from aggression and agitation, to relaxation, contentment and even excitement.
3. It can decrease or temporarily put a stop to feelings of isolation, alienation and loneliness that may be plaguing a person with dementia.
4. Should the animal therapy occur outside, the person will be exposed to healthy and much needed sunshine and fresh air. This means the person receives an increase of vitamin D. (Click here to see the benefits of Vitamin D on people with dementia.
5. A busy brain is a stimulated brain. When a resident interacts with an animal; whether through physical touch, visual perception or listening to the sounds they make, there is a good chance of increased activity occurring within the person’s brain.
6. Memories of long ago may return to the person. Stroking a dog for example, may remind the person of his/her dog from childhood, or the person may actually perceive the dog to be the same dog from his/her childhood.
7. A sense of purpose. Through animal therapy, the person is occupied with something stimulating and is likely to feel a sense of purpose.
Click Here to read about what happened when a cat came into our home…