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Therapy dogs and emotional support animals are often recognized for their amazing abilities and positive effects on those they visit. For older adults, these health benefits can include, but are not limited to less stress, feelings of safety, love and companionship, better cognitive function, improved socialization and increased mobility from interaction. Dogs are often thought of when discussing service and emotional support animals, but other animals, even robotic animals, can provide companionship with identical results.
At Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home, pet therapy has become a very popular, well attended activity for residents. Residents are able to interact with the visiting dogs – pet them, play and give them treats. Smiles abound, comfort dogs never fail to delight. The dogs are attuned to the residents’ emotions and know just how to interact.
Pet therapy runs every Thursday at 10:30a.m. in OLA’s activity room. OLA is regularly visited by owners with their comfort dogs, as well as volunteers with local shelter dogs that work well with seniors.
Comfort therapy does not stop with just visiting pets. OLA also has a collection of small, life-like robotic dogs and cats that give residents companionship without the added responsibility of a real animal. These furry friends are hypo-allergenic so they can be loved by those with pet allergies. “Residents can ‘take home’ a pet for a few days and care for it,” states Activity & Volunteer Coordinator, Tiffany Williams. The dogs and cats have realistic fur and breathe just like a living animal. They come with a bed and small brush. Tiffany adds, “These pets are especially beneficial for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The pets are low-maintenance while helping to alleviate dementia symptoms such as agitation and depression.”
Enhance your quality of living with Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home, a resident-centered, caring community. Call and schedule a tour today. To speak directly with OLA’s Director of Admissions regarding what level of care is best for you or your loved one, call 815-725-6631.