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

As an alternative to pharmacological *****, more physicians ***** 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 ***** use of animal-assisted to ***** elderly people deal ***** depression.

Many of the books regarding pet therapy focus on individual st*****ies. In Pack ***** 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 and dogs. Among ***** stories Knapp includes are an excerpt about ********** therapy in a nurs*****g 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 ***** read, it is not a schol*****rly resource.

While much *****ecdotal evidence exists regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets ***** the elderly. One of the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet *****rapy with the Elderly: Expectation ***** Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Savishinsky (1992). In ***** 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 ***** bringing companion animals to geriatric institutions. ***** found that both the institutional residents ***** the volunteers themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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

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 for those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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

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