Why animals in aged care make all the difference

There is one thing that many can agree on. Animals make everything that little bit better. 

Throughout our lives, our pets provide companionship and support to us and our family. However, as one ages the opportunities and responsibility of owning a pet may outweigh the benefits. 

But fear not, this does not mean animals and support of animals can not be part of your diversional program; Pet Therapy and animal assisted activities.

aged care resident petting horse

Dogs, cats horses -- there's no shortage of animals that can come to visit!

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet Therapy is the guided interaction between a person and an animal. It usually also involves the animal handler, or trained lifestyle to assist with the interaction. The purpose is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or disorder. While dogs and cats are the most used animals in pet therapy, you may see the use of horse, fish, guinea pigs and other farm animals use. The type of animal used depends on the therapeutic goal of a person’s treatment.  

What are Animal Assisted Activities?

Animal Assisted Activities involves the more casual meetings in which an animal and its handler interact with one or more people for comfort or recreation. Animal assisted activities is more so set for individuals who are wanting to have physical companionship with an animal for enjoyment without the set goal or plan to improve a health symptom or disorder

Benefits for Aged Care Residents 

Both programs have their benefits and can influence the life of ageing community. Pet assisted programs build on the preexisting human-animal bond that many experience in their early lives. Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and mental issues. Animals are known to release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress and improve your overall psychological state. Pet Assisted programs can be used in many ways and achieved a variety of health and social goals: 

🐱 Improving motor skills and joint movement 

🐶 Increasing self-esteem 

🐱 Increasing verbal communication 

🐶 Developing social skills 

🐱 Increasing willingness to join in activities 

🐶 Improving interactions with others 

🐱 Motivating willingness to exercise 

🐶 Make one happier, lessening depression and improving ones outlook on life 

🐱 Decreasing loneliness and isolation by giving you a companion 

🐶 Reducing boredom 

🐱 Improving the relationship between one and their healthcare and aged care providers 

St Vincent’s Care and Animal Assisted Programs

We aim to provide a holistic program to allow all residents the opportunity to participate in programs and plans that align with their needs and wants. Through the use of employee pets and farm visits, our residents have the opportunity to receive pet love they ever so miss. Most of our facilities participate in some form of Animal Assisted Activities with some even having onsite animals for the residents and families to interact with.

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