Who let the dogs out?
Dogs in a care home? To some, this might seem counter-intuitive - however pet therapy visits in residential homes are on the rise in the UK. According to a study published by the Oxford Academic Journals of Gerontology, implementing a single thirty-minute animal assisted therapy session a day in care homes, reduced loneliness in residents drastically within six weeks.
Recently, our team leaders Tracey and Cheryl took their dogs, the Springer Spaniel, Odie, the Chocolate Lab, Chico and the Bichon Frise, Lola to the Seaview Care Home in Whitley Bay. Their canine companions were a huge hit, especially with the elderly residents – even when Chico took it upon himself to steal a lady’s sock when she was sat in her wheelchair… so much so, that they have already arranged a return trip in the very near future.
Lola enjoyed trotting around the home, greeting everybody, while Odie – the naughtier of the two – misbehaved, although still rather enjoying all the attention. Lola and Odie managed to make their way upstairs, supervised by their owners, popping in to visit a young resident who was bed-bound, bringing a massive smile to her face.
Animal assisted therapy or ‘pet therapy’ as it is commonly known, has a range of benefits - from making you feel chirpier and lessening depression, decreasing symptoms of loneliness and reducing boredom and anxiety - to improving the relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider.
Interaction between care home residents and a well-trained, friendly pet, can help with a variety of physical and mental issues. It is able to improve overall cardiovascular health and reduce blood pressure. It can also release endorphins, which in turn produce a calming feeling, reducing stress, alleviating pain and improving your mental health.
We are so glad to hear that the Seaview residents enjoyed their experience with the dogs. We can’t wait to hear about the next one!