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 *****d enjoy activities ***** they once found ple*****urable. Symptoms include persistent feelings ***** sadness and anxiety, which can compound other physical illnesses as well.

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

Many ***** ***** books regarding pet ***** focus on individual stories. In Pack of Two: The *****tricate Bond Between People and Dogs, author Caroline Knapp (1998) interviews dog psychiatrists, trainers and ***** owners to discern the "mysterious" and "unknowable" link between humans and dogs. Among the s*****ries Knapp includes ***** an excerpt about pet-assisted therapy in a nurs*****g 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 ***** read, it is not a schol*****rly resource.

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

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

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of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for nursing home residents, particularly ***** those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

This historical survey regarding ***** ***** is backed by numerous current studies in ***** use of animal-assisted therapy, particularly among ***** nursing home residents.

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

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