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How Therapy Dogs Keep Seniors Happy and Healthy

One thing in life is certain: our needs are constantly evolving. And as we age, companionship and emotional support becomes an increasingly evident need. Especially for seniors who reside in assisted living communities, the presence of therapy dogs like Harmony at Lester Senior Living in New Jersey can make all the difference. Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, has gained recognition for its indisputable benefits in settings, including hospitals, schools, and senior living communities. But what exactly makes therapy dogs like Harmony so special, and how do they contribute to the happiness and health of seniors? Let’s take a closer look:

Help eliminate feelings attributed to loneliness. The companionship provided by therapy dogs can combat feeling lonely and isolated, which are feelings that are all too common to the senior population. As individuals age and life circumstances change, they may find themselves spending more time alone, particularly if they have lost a spouse or no longer have family nearby. In which case, having a furry friend to interact with can offer immense comfort and alleviate feelings of solitude.

Therapy dogs have a personality you just can’t refuse! Dogs in general have a unique ability to uplift spirits and bring joy to those around them. Their playful demeanor and unconditional love have a way of brightening even the darkest of days. Whether it’s a gentle nuzzle, a wagging tail, or simply the presence of their cute, squishy face, Harmony and other therapy dogs have a knack for eliciting smiles and laughter from everyone – especially seniors, who might need it most.

Support an active lifestyle. The benefits of pet therapy extend beyond emotional well-being, they also have tangible effects on the physical health of older adults. Interacting with therapy dogs can encourage more movement  through activities like walking or playing fetch, helping seniors maintain their level of mobility and flexibility. On top of that, the sheer act of petting a dog has been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress levels, promoting cardiovascular health and overall relaxation.

Sharpen cognitive skills. The stimulation of the brain is yet another advantage of pet therapy for seniors. Engaging with animals can improve memory, attention, and cognitive function, providing valuable mental exercise that helps keep the mind sharp. Whether it’s recalling the name of their furry friend or learning new tricks together, the mental stimulation provided by therapy dogs can contribute to more seniors staying in sound mind.

Meet Harmony, Lester Senior Living’s Resident Therapy Dog in NJ!

At Lester Senior Living and other senior living communities across the country, pet therapy programs play a vital role in enhancing residents’ quality of life. By recognizing the profound impact that animals can have on emotional, physical, and cognitive well-being, these communities are providing a valuable service to their residents.

Through initiatives like on-site pet visits and resident-owned pets, seniors have the opportunity to connect with animals in meaningful ways, fostering companionship, joy, and a sense of belonging. Dogs like Harmony, with their gentle demeanor and unwavering affection, demonstrate the transformative power of pet therapy for seniors in Morris County each and every day.

To learn more about our senior living amenities in NJ, please give us a call or visit our website. Harmony can’t wait to meet you or your loved one! https://jchcorp.org/