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

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

Many of ***** books regarding pet therapy focus on individual stories. In Pack ***** 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 nursing home, where residents are regularly visited by dogs 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 ***** ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets ***** the *****. One of the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet ********** with the Elderly: Expectation ***** Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Savishinsky (1992). In this study, the author interviewed community *****ers 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 to geriatric institutions. ***** found that both the institutional residents ***** the volunteers themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

***** the article "Pet ***** *****: A his*****rical review," Shirley Hooker et al (2002) trace the history ***** pet therapy back further, ***** to pastoral England. This article looks back over the 40-year ***** of pet therapy in nursing *****. In addition to detailing the history of pet ********** in nursing 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, ***** of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for nursing home residents, particularly ***** those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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


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