Like so many care services across the UK, Bothwell Castle Care Home understands the importance of animal and pet therapy in care homes. Regular animal interaction can have both immediate and long-lasting positive mental and physical effects. In this blog, we look at what Pet Therapy is and the benefits animal visits can bring residents.
Pet therapy (also known as Animal Therapy) is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. It is a type of complementary or alternative therapy that should enhance but not replace other treatments. This service is offered in a range of settings, including retirement living, community care, residential care, nursing homes, hospices and rehabilitation centres. Animals used for this type of therapy can range from small domesticated pets to large farm animals. Dogs are the most common type of animal used in Pet Therapy, but a wide range of animals can be used:
Research suggests that animals have the ability to boost resident’s general health and wellbeing. This type of therapy uses trained animals as a form of companionship and treatment for people of all ages and medical needs with the aim of improving emotional, social and/or cognitive abilities.
Pet Therapy in care homes offers residents affection, enjoyment, and entertainment. Those who are given the opportunity to spend time with animals can enjoy the following benefits:
Feeling isolated from family members and having a lack of motivation or sense of purpose can be a familiar feeling among residents within a care home. Animals and humans have enjoyed therapeutic relationships with each other for more than 12,000 years. The natural healing that comes from interacting with animals continues to be beneficial for a wide variety of individuals, especially those living in a care home. In the immediate moment, animals provide residents with joy and affections, with benefits lasting long after the therapy session has ended, with residents left talking about and/or reminiscing about experiences.
Pets provide a type of unconditional relationship that can help someone build social skills and confidence. Animal-assisted therapy for memory and cognitive skills may include, remembering the pet’s name or breed, recalling the handler’s name and giving basic commands to the dog.
The positive interactions with an animal may lead to benefits in the mind and body, such as reduced stress and an overall more balanced mental and emotional state.
Oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin increase in your body while the bad cortisol decreases – so residents instantly feel better, even without the emotional aspects of being with the pet.
An animals calming effect can help to reduce anxiety. Ineracting with an animal naturally provides a calm and relaxing atmosphere that can equally help lower blood pressure.
As care specialists, we know the positive effects pet therapy in nursing homes can have. With our wide array of facilities and activities, we’re able to create a care home in Bothwell where residents feel loved, safe, and excited for the day ahead. This year we have had multiple visits from some furry friends which have left residents and staff smiling from ear to ear. A visit from Pet Therapy was long overdue following the lockdown and social restrictions and everyone welcomed Bessie, a French Bulldog, with excited, open arms.
Earlier this year we were also lucky to receive a visit from two beautiful Golden Labradors via Guide Dogs UK. Our residents thoroughly enjoyed the visit from Guide Dogs UK. Staff and residents alike loved having a cuddle from these friendly dogs and we look forward to seeing them again very soon.
We strive to create a homely environment at Bothwell Castle and regularly seek input from our residents as to what they would to do and activities they may want to experience. Both residents and staff alike thoroughly enjoy quality time with all of the animals that have visited our home, and he has already proven to be a positive activity that everyone looks forward to.
We make every effort to ensure that residents are stimulated and are living a fulfilling life on every single day. Daily life at Bothwell Castle Care Home is varied, personalised, and allows each individual to lead the life they desire. From participating in our accessible activities programme to attending trips to the local community in the Bothwell area, we are dedicated to providing activities and opportunities that allow residents to have fun, socialise and be as independent as possible.
If you are looking for a care home for a loved one, or would like to discuss the benefits of pet therapy further, do not hesitate to get in touch with our wonderful team to discuss the available care options available here at Bothwell Castle Care Home.