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Enhancing Well-being: Pet Therapy Flourishes across our homes

Enhancing Well-being: Pet Therapy Flourishes across our homes

Our homes have been benefiting from regular pet therapy sessions as part of our commitment to enhancing the well-being of residents. This form of therapy involves the use of specially trained animals to provide comfort, companionship, and emotional support.

The response from residents and their families has been overwhelmingly positive, with many noting significant improvements in mood, social engagement, and overall quality of life.

Across Westgate Healthcare homes, we have resident rabbits and budgies, and regular visits from pet therapy dogs. Additionally, we partner with Performing Pets and Pets Therapy, who bring an array of animals including dogs, guinea pigs, pigs, lambs, Shetland ponies, rabbits, and other animals like penguins, reindeer, wallabies, iguanas and snakes to our homes.

“We’ve seen first-hand how pet therapy can brighten the day for our residents. The joy and comfort these animals bring are invaluable,” said Rosie Monger, Home Manager at Chestnut Manor Care Home.

“Our pet therapy sessions have become a highlight for many residents, offering them companionship and a sense of purpose,” added Renata Sulugiuc, Riverdale Care Home Manager.

Here’s an overview of the benefits and implementation of pet therapy across our homes:



Benefits of Pet Therapy:

Emotional Well-being: Interacting with animals can significantly improve the emotional health of residents. Activities like stroking a pet can release hormones such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, which are associated with happiness and relaxation​​. This can be particularly soothing for residents with dementia.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Pet therapy helps lower stress levels by providing companionship and distraction from feelings of isolation and agitation. The presence of animals has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, while increasing the production of endorphins, which enhance mood​.

Combatting Loneliness: The unconditional love and companionship provided by therapy animals can alleviate feelings of loneliness among residents. This is especially beneficial for those who are reclusive or suffer from dementia​​.

Increased Physical Activity: Interacting with pets encourages residents to engage in physical activities, such as walking or grooming the animals. These activities help to improve mobility, enhance motor skills, and promote cardiovascular health. Regular physical interaction with animals also helps in reducing the risk of falls by improving balance and co-ordination​.

Enhanced Social Interaction: Pet therapy often promotes social interaction among residents. Animals can serve as a common topic of conversation, helping to break down barriers and foster a sense of community​​. Animals act as social catalysts, encouraging residents to come together, share stories, and build meaningful relationships.

Cognitive Benefits: Engaging with therapy animals can stimulate cognitive function, helping residents to recall memories and engage more actively with their environment. This can be particularly beneficial for those with cognitive impairments.




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