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

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

Many ***** the books regarding pet ***** focus on individual st*****ies. In Pack of Two: The *****tricate Bond Between People and Dogs, author Caroline Knapp (1998) interviews dog psychiatrists, trainers and dog owners ***** discern the "mysterious" and "unknowable" link between humans ***** *****s. Among the stories Knapp includes ***** an excerpt about ********** *****rapy 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 evidence ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there ***** few scientific studies documenting pets ***** the *****. One ***** 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 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 ***** geriatric institutions. Savishinsky found that both the institutional residents and the volunteers themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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

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much of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for ***** home residents, particularly for those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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


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