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 the body as well ***** the mind. A major depression affects people's ability to work, study, sleep, eat *****d 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 and counselors are turning to animal-*****sisted 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 of the books regarding pet ***** focus on individual s*****ries. 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 and *****s. Among the stories Knapp includes ***** an excerpt about pet-assisted *****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 ***** ex*****ts regarding animal-assisted therapy, there ***** few scientific studies documenting pets and the *****. One ***** the earliest studies is entitled "Intimacy, Domesticity and Pet ********** with the Elderly: Expectation and Experience Among Nursing Home Volunteers," written by Joel Sav*****hinsky (1992). In ***** 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 to geriatric institutions. Savishinsky ***** 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 England. This ***** looks ***** over the 40-year ***** of pet therapy in nursing *****. In addition to detailing the his*****ry ***** pet therapy in nursing homes, this article reflects the evolution of nursing in general -- from assisting physicians to modern ***** care.

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of the animal-assisted programs have proven positive for nursing home residents, particularly for those who had been withdrawn and uncommunicative.

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

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


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