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 that they once found pleasurable. Symptoms include persistent feelings ***** sadness and anxiety, which can 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 ***** use of animal-assisted to help elderly people deal with depression.

Many ***** the books regarding pet ***** focus on individual s*****ries. In Pack of Two: The *****tricate Bond Between People and Dogs, author Caroline Knapp (1998) interviews dog psychiatrists, trainers and ***** owners to 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 ***** 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 scholarly resource.

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

***** ***** article "Pet ***** research: A historical review," Shirley Hooker et al (2002) trace the history ***** pet therapy back further, back to pastoral England. 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 nursing 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 ***** companion animals is backed by numerous current studies in the use of animal-assisted *****rapy, particularly among elderly nursing home residents.

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


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