At St Philips Care, we work hard to find ways to keep our residents happy and motivated, as boredom can have such an impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
Pet therapy is an excellent way to build up a resident’s confidence and drive and improve their overall health. Studies have shown that interacting with an animal can greatly enhance a person’s wellbeing by lowering blood pressure and heart rates and even helping to lower stress hormone levels too.
Dogs, especially the action of stroking a dog, have been proven to relieve stress and anxiety, and within a care home, it can also improve social connections with other members of the home, building confidence and even new friendships.
Many of our homes encourage visits from animals, as they always bring positivity and excitement when the residents know they’re coming in to visit. Dogs are the most popular, but some centres have had visits from birds, reptiles, and even horses!
Manager Pauline Melville of Bowburn Care Centre said “We find that when the dogs visit us, it has a calming effect on the residents. It creates conversations, playfulness, and relaxation.
It also encourages socialising, stimulates the recall of memories, and gets all the residents talking to each other, and to the staff, about their own pets and experiences with animals”.
Pauline went on to say “Residents love to have the dogs sit on their knees, even when a resident is unwell, the dogs will jump on the beds and snuggle down with them. You can see the joy on their faces. One gentleman always has happy tears, every time the dogs are in”.