“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 conversational and generally in a better mood when the dogs are around,” says Larry Prescott, executive director of Grand Villa. “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.”
Grand Villa holds pet therapy sessions every Friday afternoon. Project Pup, a local therapy dog organization, brings the dogs to the community. The animals, which include a Golden Retriever and Rottweiler, provide companionship to the residents and also perform tricks, including the ability to count.
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,”
About Grand Villa of Largo
Grand Villa of Largo (http://www.largoseniorliving.com) is an assisted living and Alzheimer’s care residential community in Largo, Fla. The community offers one bedroom and studio apartments, 24-hour staffing and amenities such as a café, beauty salon and barber shop, billiards parlor, library and a private dining room. For those who are not ready for full-time residency, Grand Villa of Largo offers a senior day program, short-term stays, respite care and a dusk to dawn overnight program.
About Senior Management Advisors, Inc.
Senior Management Advisors (SMA) (www.seniormanagementadvisors.com)