The success of an adult care facility boils down to whether residents thrive. In addition to supporting physical health, mental health is of key concern. Activities that involve animals can be particularly beneficial for residents.
Senior loneliness is a widespread problem. Research published in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work shows that 19% to 29% of all community-dwelling older adults are lonely. Furthermore, the National Institute on Aging warns that loneliness can contribute to both physical and mental health problems, including cognitive decline, heart disease, and depression.
Adult care facilities can help seniors overcome loneliness by acknowledging the challenge, reaching out to the local community, and teaching seniors to be tech savvy. It’s also important to provide activities at your facility to support health and socialization. Although these activities could take many forms – such as cooking classes, board game nights, movie clubs, and exercise lessons – activities that involve animals can be especially therapeutic.
The American Heart Association says pets can help adults over age 50 reduce stress, foster more social connections, and improve their sense of purpose. Pets also provide companionship, help people manage their anxiety, and create bonds among people who connect over animals.
In an American Psychiatric Association survey, 69% of pet owners said their pet reduces their stress and anxiety, provides unconditional love, and offers companionship. Additionally, 66% said their pet provides a calming presence and 63% said their pets are true friends.
Even non-pet owners can reap the mental health benefits of being around animals. According to Husson University, most people experience a release of serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin when they are around animals. These hormones can reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Animals can promote physical health in two main ways. As discussed above, animals promote mental health, which subsequently impacts physical health. Animals can also encourage physical activity with significant impact – research published in the journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows that dog ownership can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of death.
Again, pet owners aren’t the only ones who can experience the benefits. During pet therapy, an animal handler brings trained animals to interact with individuals. According to Healthline, pet therapy can provide a vast array of benefits, including improved motor skills and joint movement. It can also motivate people to exercise and join activities.
Adult care facilities can leverage the healing power of pets in many ways:
If you allow pets or arrange for activities involving animals, you need to be aware of the risks. These include:
You’ll also need adult care facility insurance. Whether or not they allow animals onsite, all adult care facilities face risks, meaning residential care insurance is critical. Tangram provides insurance for adult residential care facilities through the Personal Care & Assisted Living Insurance Center (PCALIC). Learn more.
Article provided by Tangram Insurance Services.