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What is pet therapy in aged care?

Pet therapy – as like any therapy – is used as form of treatment. Pet therapy, which is also known as animal-assisted therapy involves the interaction with animals as its primary treatment method. The ultimate goal is to improve social, emotional and cognitive functioning.


How pet therapy is being used in aged care

Group activities, events and therapies are something that you will be able to find at all aged care homes across Australia. Aged care facilities offer many different types of group activities and therapies that assist with making residents feel at home in bright spirits.

Many aged care homes organise for specifically trained animals (therapy animals) to visit the home to allow the Residents to spend some time with them and enjoy their company.  Some aged care facilities even have live-in pets, allowing residents get to interact with every day and form a special bond.

When people think of therapy animals, it is common to immediately think of dogs. Although this is certainly correct, there are many other types of therapy animals including birds, chickens, rabbits, fish, horses and even goats!

Assisting  aged care residents to interact with therapy animals lifts moods, promotes greater self-esteem and can also have a calming effect.

Benefits of pet therapy in aged care

One of the greatest advantages of animal-assisted therapy is that it tends to have a higher engagement rate than other therapy types. Although some residents may refuse other types of therapy, it is often found that they are more open to trying pet therapy. This allows the elderly to receive the benefits of therapy in a situation where they may have been hesitant.

In addition to this, research suggests that are many mental and physical benefits to pet therapy. These include:

  • Decreased blood pressure and stress
  • Decreased confusion
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Alleviated symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Increased social interaction
  • Increased enthusiasm and inspiration
  • Improved communication and memory
  • Improved motor skills


Aged Care can be complicated but the job of the Aged Care Experts here at Aged Care Decisions is to make the process of placing a loved one into aged care less stressful and more streamlined.

To discuss how we can assist give our team a call on 1300 775 870 or fill in this form and we will give you a call when it suits you.


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