Louis J. Halpryn, executive vice president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, believes there to be no real problems occurring with having pets in nursing homes. Occasionally a tray gets knocked over and you get a pet that’s too fat from the patients constantly feeding them. Other than that, his experience has been very positive.
Having a pet in the nursing home inspires the residents to help care for the animal. Anyone with allergies or who are afraid of these animals, are not subjected to their visits.
PETS MAY HELP WITH DEPRESSION
Spectacular results can come from having pets where it really can turn people around. A withdrawn person comes out of his shell. This has been attributed to brain chemistry where endorphins, substances released from the brain when a person is stimulated by something, reduces pain and blood pressure as well as alleviates depression.
Many administrators of nursing homes report that having pets there conjures up memories of childhood pets, which many consider very therapeutic. Some residents also relate that having the animals around keeps them from thinking of themselves and their problems and health issues. Watching the dogs changes these residents inside.
PETS CAN HELP BRING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER
Precautions must be taken when animals are allowed in the nursing home. The pet’s temperament is very important, cleanliness, checking for fleas and watching out for things like leashes that people can trip over. One incident can ruin their entire program. One big benefit is that this program brings people in from the community which gives the residents contact with the outside world and in turn shows the outsiders that this is not a scary world. There does appear to be some jealousy! Residents vie for certain pets’ attention. Not only do some pets visit, but some nursing homes actually have a resident “adopted” pet that lives at the nursing home.
The animals are good company for the elderly, who are sometimes left for great lengths of time without visitors.
One 90-year-old woman said that they are better than human beings because they talk to her and ask for her attention.
Life is so much better with an animal to love and have for company. Wouldn’t it be nice if we would all take a little time to visit these elderly residents in our local nursing homes? Just think what it would do to pay someone a visit that has little left in his/her life. Give them a little hope, companionship and love. After all, we will all be there some day and I certainly don’t want to be forgotten and lonely!
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