Essay - Animal Therapy for Depression Animal Therapy with Elderly Patients for...

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Animal therapy for depression

Animal therapy with elderly patients

For many elderly citizens, the problems of aging can be compounded by ***** -- an illness that affects ***** body as well as the mind. A major depression affects people's ability to work, study, sleep, eat ********** enjoy activities ***** they once found ple*****urable. Symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness and anxiety, which can compound other physical illnesses as well.

***** an alternative to pharmacological therapy, more physicians ***** counselors are turning to animal-assisted or pet therapy ***** help ***** adults cope with the effects ***** depression. This paper reviews the current literature regarding the use of animal-assisted to ***** elderly people deal with depression.

Many of ***** books regarding pet therapy focus on individual st*****ies. In Pack ***** Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs, author Caroline Knapp (1998) interviews dog psychiatrists, trainers and dog owners to discern the "mysterious" and "unknowable" link between humans ***** dogs. Among ***** stories Knapp includes are an excerpt about *****-assisted therapy in a nursing home, where residents are regularly visited by ***** and cats. While interesting, much of the evidence that this book cites is merely anecdotal and need to be backed by research.

Thus, while the book is an interesting read, it is not a schol*****rly resource.

While much anecdotal evidence exists regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets ***** the *****. One ***** the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet Therapy with the Elderly: Expectation ***** Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Savishinsky (1992). In this study, ***** author interviewed community workers and college students who volunteered in three ***** homes in upstate New York. The volunteers in these programs were among the pioneers of bringing companion animals ***** geriatric institutions. ***** ***** that both the institutional residents and the ***** themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

In the article "Pet therapy research: A historical review," Shirley Hooker et al (2002) trace the history of pet ***** back further, back to pastoral England. This article looks back over the 40-year history of pet therapy in nursing homes. In addition to detailing the history ***** pet ***** in nursing homes, this article reflects ***** evolution of nursing in general -- from assisting physicians to modern nursing c*****.

The authors note that despite initial misgivings about bringing animals into nursing homes, ***** of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for ***** home residents, parti*****ularly ***** those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

This historical survey ***** companion animals is ***** ***** numerous current studies in ***** use of animal-assisted therapy, particularly among elderly nursing ***** residents.

***** the article "Research and Reflection: *****nimal-Assisted Therapy in Mental Health Settings," Debra Phillips Parshall (2003) examines both ***** studies and anecdotal ***** regarding companion animals. The author includes a story reg*****rding her grandfa*****r, who ***** sound mental faculties but was ********** incapable ***** taking care of himself. Parshall notes that after regular visits ***** an Airedale terrier,


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