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

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Animal therapy for depression

Animal ***** with elderly patients

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

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

Many ***** the books regarding pet therapy focus on individual st*****ies. In Pack of Two: The *****tricate Bond Between People and Dogs, author Caroline Knapp (1998) interviews dog psychiatrists, trainers and ***** owners ***** discern the "mysterious" and "unknowable" link between humans ***** dogs. Among ***** stories Knapp includes ***** an excerpt about pet-assisted therapy in a nurs*****g home, where residents are regularly visited by ***** and cats. While interesting, much ***** 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 *****ecdotal evidence ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there ***** few scientific studies documenting pets and the *****. One of the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity ***** Pet Therapy with the Elderly: Expectation and Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Savishinsky (1992). In this study, the author interviewed community workers 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. ***** found that both ***** institutional residents and the volunteers themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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

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

This historical survey regarding companion ***** is ***** by numerous current studies in the use of animal-assisted **********, ***** among elderly nursing ***** residents.

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


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