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 ***** -- an illness that affects the body as well as the mind. A major depression affects people's ability to work, study, sleep, eat *****d enjoy activities ***** they once found ple*****urable. 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-assisted 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 ***** *****.

Many of ***** books regarding pet therapy focus on individual stories. 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 ***** s*****ries Knapp includes are an excerpt about pet-assisted therapy in a nurs*****g home, where residents ***** 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 *****ecdotal evidence ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets and the *****. One of the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet Therapy with the Elderly: Expectation ***** 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. Savishinsky found that both the institutional residents and the volunteers themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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

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of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for ***** home residents, particularly ***** those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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


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