Dog therapy not only benefits children and college students but also the elderly. Interactions with dogs brighten individuals’ lives and fulfill their everyday life with happiness. The common thread of the effect of dog therapy on children, college students, and senior citizens is that dog therapy increases an individual’s positivity and enlightens their attitude toward life. Spending time with dogs increases a person’s chance of uplifting their mood and desire to be surrounded by loved ones.
According to Therapy Dogs and their Benefit to Senior Citizens by Jason Statson, dogs enhance the livelihood of senior citizens. Since senior citizens become lonely and isolated, they experience the effects of depression and anxiety. Also, a study was conducted in 2009, which concluded that dog therapy lowered the levels of senior citizen’s anxiety in a nursing home. Some of the causes of these abandoned feelings are the lack of visits from friends and family or a senior citizen’s spouse recently died. Animals help these people become happier, and a study has shown that senior citizen’s health decreases slower than a depressed individual’s health.
The impact of the relationship between dogs and humans affects the mental state of a person of old age, which influences the health of the individual. Spending fifteen minutes with an animal lowers the levels of cortisol in the brain and increases the levels of serotonin. Therefore, the effect of depression is decreased, and individuals feel more joy in their lives. An individual’s heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels are lowered due to the contact with this animal. Spending time with dogs is beneficial for senior citizens because cholesterol levels are lowered over a period, and these interactions can protect an individual from stroke. During a study by the American Heart Association, researchers concluded that interacting with dogs prevents heart disease. For example, walking one’s dog is a form of exercise, which elevates the health of the individual.
In addition to the mental and physical effects of dogs’ communication with people, they improve the symptoms of certain diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s for senior citizens. Since dogs release the level of stress of an individual, they help people with dementia or Alzheimer’s deal with their anxiety and agitated moods. These animals can calm people with dementia, when they have outbursts or panic attacks. Playing with animals increases an individual’s appreciation for their life and enables them to forget about the reality of their life.
Because of the health benefits of dog therapy, many nursing homes and hospitals provide this innovative therapy for patients. Senior citizens feel healthier and express more energy especially if they are surrounded by loving animals and individuals. Dogs consistently encourage these people to smile and radiate the optimistic and selfless energy that dogs embody. Without the presence of dogs, individuals would reside in environments without as much positivity and genuine compassion. Dogs are a fundamental aspect of our lives that have the ability to change a person’s health in the future.
Statson, Jason. “Therapy Dogs and Their Benefit To Senior Citizens.” Companion Animals, 10 Feb. 2017, www.companionanimals.org/therapy-dogs-and-their-benefit-to-senior-citizens/