The Healing Power of Animals

29 May

Project PUP, is an organization that brings animals to hospital, nursing homes and senior living facilities to help with the healing process. Animals have proven to lower blood pressure and increase the attitudes of those healing from a multitude of illnesses. There’s just something about animals ability to break through any sort of barrier that people put up. Animals, especially cats and dogs, know when something is wrong, when you’re feeling sick or sad, they just know. That’s what makes them so good for these therapy positions. Another great cause that I’ve enjoyed learning about through my blogging journey. Below is the full article… So inspiring. I would love to get involved in these organizations. Aren’t animals incredible?!

By Larry Prescott

Dogs may be more than just man’s best friend. The animals may also help the sick heal more quickly.

A study of heart failure patients at the University of California Los Angeles showed those who were visited by a therapy dog while in recovery saw their heart pressure drop by 10 percent, epinephrine (a hormone the body makes when under stress) levels drop 17 percent and anxiety levels were lowered by 24 percent.

Project PUP, a local therapy dog organization, has been bringing dogs to hospitals, hospice facilities and senior living communities for more than 25 years.

The group brings pups to Grand Villa of Largo, an assisted living and Alzheimer’s residence, once a week. The animals provide companionship and perform tricks to lift the spirits of the residents.

Pets have long been recognized for their unique ability to offer comfort and companionship in times of stress, but many studies have shown that the benefits of interacting with a loving animal are far greater than one might expect.

For nearly 40 years, pet therapy has been studied extensively by healthcare practitioners and nursing professionals. Research findings indicate an increase in the quality of life for individuals participating in pet therapy, particularly with children and the elderly. In addition, bonds that patients develop with a pet lead to an increased emotional connection, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation often experienced as they age.

Research has shown that pet therapy can increase social interaction, lower blood pressure, improve self-esteem and even decrease anxiety and depression. In a study conducted by Kal Kan pet food, 57 percent of psychologists would recommend pet therapy to a patient and research indicates this number is on the rise.

Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing depression as they become less able to do things for themselves. Visiting with pets provides an easy and enjoyable way for seniors to be social, reduce stress and boost their self-confidence.

About this column: Caring for aging parents while managing your own life can be a daunting task. Larry Prescott, executive director of Grand Villa of Largo an assisted living and alzheimer’s care facility, gives you resources to help you along the way.

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