We all know pets make us feel better, but studies show us it is not just a feeling – it is a fact. Having regular exposure to animals is known to improve a variety of different conditions for children, adults, and seniors alike. We have seen the impact firsthand as we’ve welcomed our furry friends into our Fieldstone Communities.
In the past, moving into a senior living community often meant that you would no longer be around animals. However, that has changed over the years as therapy dogs have shown to affect residents in a positive manner. For seniors who are withdrawn or non-verbal, animals can bring them out of their shell and make them more active. Similarly, for people with memory impairments who have increased periods of agitation and confusion around nighttime, (referred to as "Sundowner's Syndrome,") a dog's profound acceptance and understanding, can calm these episodes.
Truthfully, while dogs are more commonly therapy animals, cats also are just as therapeutic. Cats’ purrs are especially healing for bone density weaknesses.
The following is a selection of benefits experienced by seniors who receive pet therapy:
For Physical Health
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect
- Diminishes overall physical pain
- The act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, in some cases reducing the amount of medication needed
For Mental Health
- Lifts spirits and lessens depression
- Decreases feelings of isolation and alienation
- Encourages communication
- Provides comfort
- Increases socialization and sense of community
- Reduces boredom
- Decreases anxiety
- Helps seniors overcome speech and emotional disorders
- Creates motivation for the client to recover faster
- Reduces loneliness
All of the reasons above illustrate why we bring therapy dogs into our communities to spend time with our residents. Fieldstone Communities wants our independent, assisted living and memory care residents to live the best life possible – and this is an activity that is very near and dear to our hearts.
Throughout our communities, you will meet our dog, Clara, a 2.5-year-old Saint Benard. She makes trips around to different communities and is always ready to greet residents with a tail wag and sloppy kiss. Fieldstone Grandridge is even home to Clara’s Café, a gathering place offering tea and coffee.
In addition to Clara, our memory care communities have therapy dogs come at least once a week. Our independent living and assisted living communities also receive puppy visits! If you would like to schedule a tour during one of our pet therapies, please reach out to one of our locations. We would love to have you visit!