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 elderly citizens, the problems of aging can be compounded by depression -- an illness that affects ***** body as well as the 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 ***** sadness and anxiety, which ***** compound other physical illnesses as well.

***** an alternative to pharmacological therapy, more physicians ***** counselors are turning to animal-*****sisted or pet therapy ***** help ***** 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 ***** ***** books regarding pet therapy 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 and dogs. Among ***** stories Knapp includes ***** an excerpt about ********** therapy in a nursing 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 ***** ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there are few scientific studies documenting pets ***** the *****. 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 Savishinsky (1992). In this study, the author interviewed community workers and college students who volunteered in three ***** homes in upstate New York. The volunteers in these programs were among the pioneers ***** bringing companion animals ***** geriatric institutions. ***** ***** that both ***** institutional residents and the ***** themselves derived great satisfaction from the experience.

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

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of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for nursing home residents, particularly ***** those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

***** historical survey regarding companion animals is backed ***** numerous current studies in ***** use of animal-assisted *****, 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 evidence ***** companion *****. The author includes a story reg*****rding her grandfather, who ***** sound mental faculties but was ********** incapable of taking care of himself. Parshall notes that after regular visits from an Airedale terrier,

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