Animals and humans share a deep connection that is strengthened in times of great emotional and physical distress.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than when one witnesses the touching interactions that occur between animals and aging adults. Animal therapy programs have gradually taken root in many elder care arenas, including, adult day care centers, nursing homes and hospice care facilities.
Here are 4 examples of such programs, each one highlighting the uniquely beautiful bond that the elderly share with the animal kingdom:
The Beacon Hospice pet therapy program (see video above) helps people who are terminally ill find comfort and connect with fond memories of the past by allowing them to interact with specially-trained therapy dogs.
For these dying seniors, the animals represent a source of safety and care that cannot be replicated by human nurses and caregivers. Shannon Fultz, a pet therapy volunteer at Beacon describes the uncanny, sixth-sense of her dog, Tori, “She’ll pick a person out of the room and go over to them. It’s as if she decides, ‘That’s the person who needs me today.’”
Learn more about how hospice and palliative care can help people die with dignity and peace: Hospice and Palliative Care: Help During the End Stages of Life
Continue reading to discover how dogs may be able to help keep people with dementia out of nursing homes…