When asked about typical nursing home activities, many people think of playing bingo, knitting, and listening to music from times past. Today, nursing home owner Akash Brahmbhatt explains that inviting trained therapy animals into nursing homes can be a fun, new, and exciting way to engage residents and provide both physical and psychological health benefits.
According to Akash Brahmbhatt, there are three types of pet therapy often used in nursing homes and assisted living facilities:
There are both physical and psychological benefits to pet therapy for senior nursing home residents, according to Akash Brahmbhatt. Physically, seniors who engage in pet therapy show lowered blood pressure. Seniors who participate in pet care, or who walk dogs or engage in active play with other animals during visitation therapy enjoy the benefits of physical exercise with a pet.
Psychologically, pet therapy can reduce the risk of depression, lower rates of anxiety, and can contribute to a reduction in overall stress levels. Akash Brahmbhatt also mentions that some nursing home residents struggle with finding things to which they can look forward, and pet therapy provides an exciting event that residents can enjoy each week.
In addition to interacting with animals, Akash Brahmbhatt says that pet therapy also provides residents with the chance to interact with animal owners, providing additional mental stimulation and emotional support.