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

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Animal therapy for depression

Animal therapy with elderly patients

***** many ***** citizens, the problems of aging can be compounded by ***** -- an illness that affects the body as well ***** ***** mind. A major depression affects people's ability to work, study, sleep, eat and enjoy activities ***** they once found pleasurable. Symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness ***** anxiety, which can 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 elderly adults cope with the effects ***** depression. This paper reviews the current literature regarding the use of animal-assisted to ***** elderly people deal with *****.

Many of the books regarding pet ***** focus on individual s*****ries. 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 the stories Knapp includes ***** an excerpt about ********** 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 evidence ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets ***** the elderly. One of the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet Therapy with the Elderly: Expectation and Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Sav*****hinsky (1992). In ***** study, ***** 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 ***** that both the institutional residents and the ***** themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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 nursing home residents, particularly for those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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


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