Maintaining mental, emotional, and physical well-being becomes increasingly important as we age. There are many ways in which this can be done, from embracing a creative streak to joining a sociable community group or club. However, one thing that is proven to boost emotional wellbeing for many is spending time in the company of animals.

 

How Does Animal Interaction Benefit the Elderly?

Reduced Loneliness and Isolation

Much like spending time with humans, spending time with animals can make people feel less lonely and isolated, which can be common challenges for the elderly. Although the residents at our home have company and human interaction whenever they want, we believe that adding animal companionship into the mix is highly beneficial. The presence of a furry, feathered or scaled friend can offer comfort, companionship, and a sense of connection, providing much-needed emotional support for elderly individuals.

Stress Reduction and Relaxation

It is well known that spending time with animals can offer a sense of relaxation that may not be as easy to come by with purely human companionship. 

The simple act of petting an animal can lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and induce a sense of calmness and tranquillity. Spending time with animals can help elderly individuals unwind, relax, and temporarily escape from the pressures of daily life, promoting overall emotional well-being.

 

Improved Mood 

Spending time with animals can have a profound effect on mood and emotional well-being, leading to feelings of happiness and contentment. Being around animals can bring about feelings of joy and promote the release of endorphins which can provide long lasting positive emotions. The emotional resilience brought out by spending time with animals is especially beneficial for the elderly who may be dealing with feelings of grief, anxiety, or depression.

 

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Animal therapy for the elderly can help to stimulate cognitive function and mental acuity. Simple tasks such as grooming, feeding, or playing with animals require focus, attention, and problem-solving skills, helping to keep the mind sharp and engaged.

Meeting new animals is also a great way to learn new things, having the experience to associate with the knowledge gained about the animals can also help with recall.

 

Increased Physical Activity

Interacting with animals often involves physical activities such as playing or engaging in gentle exercises. For elderly individuals, staying physically active is essential for maintaining mobility, flexibility, and overall physical health.

Animal Visits at Little Croft 

We welcome family pets for visits at Little Croft as we are a residential care home with a deep understanding of the emotional and mental value of animal companionship. One of our resident’s favourite visitors is Bear, our care manager’s dog. Bear is an extremely cuddly and friendly Shar-Pe.

Recently, we also had Melissa visit from Creature Cuddles Animal Handling. She brought with her an array of adorable animals for our residents to meet and spend time with. From a fluffy pomeranian to a very relaxed bearded dragon, our residents got to get involved in handling and learning about all the different animals.  

The therapeutic benefits of animal interaction were evident as our residents engaged with the animals, feeling calm and happy. 

Incorporating meaningful and engaging activities like animal therapy into our residents’ daily lives is extremely important to us. Through initiatives like the visit from Creature Cuddles Animal Handling, we strive to create a supportive and enriching environment. 

If you’re looking for a care home for yourself or a loved one that puts wellbeing first and promotes regular enriching activities then get in contact to find out more. We offer dementia care, short term care, and residential care in a friendly and welcoming setting.

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