“Our residents love having the opportunity to visit with the animals and you can see the positive effect it has on them immediately. They are more conversation, smiling and generally in a better mood when the dogs are around,” says Sandra Davis, executive director of Grand Villa of Ormond Beach. “The best thing about pet therapy is that it doesn’t feel like therapy – it’s not intimidating, and the residents are happy to visit with dogs who are always excited to see them.”
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. Research has shown that pet therapy can increase social interaction, lower blood pressure, improve self-esteem and even decrease anxiety, loneliness and depression.
“Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing depression as they become less able to do things for themselves,”