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

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Animal therapy for depression

Animal ***** with elderly patients

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

As an alternative to pharmacological therapy, 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 with *****.

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 dog owners to discern the "mysterious" and "unknowable" link between humans ***** dogs. Among ***** stories Knapp includes are an excerpt about pet-assisted therapy in a nursing home, where residents ***** regularly visited by dogs 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 ***** exists regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets and the *****. One of the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet *****rapy with the Elderly: Expectation ***** Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Sav*****hinsky (1992). In ***** 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 ***** bringing companion animals ***** geriatric institutions. Savishinsky found that both the institutional residents ***** the ***** themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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

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of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for nursing home residents, particularly for those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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


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