Research has shown that animal interaction is beneficial to us all – but particularly to those who are elderly and living in nursing homes. Regular visits from animals can have many positive physical, emotional and mental benefits. Physical benefits include lowering blood pressure, lowering heart rate and reducing overall stress. Emotional benefits include reducing anxiety and depression and decreasing loneliness through social interaction with animals and their human companions.
Consistent interaction with an animal has been shown to cause an increased release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which can help calm and soothe a person’s body. This can be particularly helpful for patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.
At the Lovejoy Centre, we have our own animals that we regularly use for pet therapy. Sozo is our rabbit and is a favourite in all of the care homes that she visits. We also have a little tortoise called Darryl. Both of our animals are friendly, patient and small. They love the attention, so, if you’d like them to come and visit your residents, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.