Several times a month the staff at Generations at Regency incorporates their pets with the residents, in our program called “pet therapy.”
Pet therapy is a growing field and research has shown how beneficial it can be to the elderly, especially those who are living in a nursing home or skilled rehabilitation facility. Regular visits with pets, usually dogs, can have positive physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.
Pet therapy has also been known to be beneficial in the following ways:
- Lifts spirits and lessens depression
- Decreases feelings of isolation and alienation
- Encourages communication
- Provides comfort
- Increases socialization and sense of community
- Reduces boredom
- Decreases anxiety
- Reduces loneliness
- Creates motivation
A main star of pet therapy at Regency is our administrator Lorrie’s companion Bella. The first stop for Bella is the activity room where residents are gathered to interact, have fun and pet her. Her visit also helps residents stay engaged with the world and as a link to more socialization with others. After the activity room Bella then makes “house calls” to the residents unable to join us in the activity room to bring cheer and warmth.
Throughout the month other members of the Regency staff also bring their dogs into the facility for the residents. These special guests are a part of the Regency family and are always welcomed with open arms. Our residents look forward to their favorite four legged friends and always give positive feedback regarding the visits.