Animals are incredibly comforting influences. Studies have indicated that just the act of petting a dog or cat can lower your blood pressure, ease tension and release hormones that provide a sense of tranquility, happiness and peace. Pet owners are known to live longer and healthier lives than those without animals, and many people have translated the astonishing benefits of animals into elderly care therapy dogs.
While they are not technically pets, therapy dogs can offer this same amazing benefits and even more. Elder care therapy dogs are specifically trained to be calm and loving. As opposed to other dogs who may be highly energetic and want to play, therapy dogs will sit or lay down for hours and allow a senior to simply stroke their fur. This action brings comfort and relaxation to a senior, and is also very pleasant for the dog. Beyond just being a constant presence and petting platform, therapy dogs can also be trained to perform other tasks that help seniors. Some dogs are taught to offer signs of affection such as licking or placing a paw on a senior’s lap when that senior is showing signs of distress. Other therapy dogs learn basic skills such as picking items up or alerting a senior when someone has knocked on the door. These tasks, however, are not common among therapy dogs who are meant mainly as a source of comfort, support and emotional encouragement for a senior.
It is important to remember that there is a distinct difference between a therapy dog and a service dog. Therapy dogs offer a predominantly psychological benefit to the owner, though there may be some specific skills the dog can use. Service dogs, on the other hand, have been extensively trained to perform specific tasks to help the owner manage and identifiable condition. Whereas service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act in terms of being brought into locations that do not allow animals, therapy dogs are not given such consideration. These dogs are considered essentially pets for the purposes of the law, and are not linked to the management of any form of disability. Contact the elder care services agency in your area to get more information on finding a therapy dog for your aging loved one. If your loved one needs more then emotional support and companionship, consider contacting the training agencies in your area to find out if your loved one qualifies for a trained service dog.
For all of your elderly care needs in Cherry Hill NJ and the surrounding areas call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 720-0081