2. Pets & Depression Relief
In his current practice, Wagner sees first-hand how pets play a significant role in providing daily hope and a reduction in depressive symptoms.
According to Dobson, “the two most important benefits a pet can bring a senior are companionship and safety and protection,” and recommends a dog as being the best pet for a senior.
Adopting a companion animal or spending time with an animal companion offers the elderly a feeling of belonging and love, and decreases feelings of isolation and loneliness. For instance, a studyof nursing home residents in St. Louis reported that they felt less lonely with some quiet time with a dog alone than a visit with both a dog and other residents.
9. Therapy Animals Help in Memory & Rehab Clinical Settings
Malia Fischer is an Activity Coordinator at the Sarah Chudnow Community in Mequon, WI. The Sarah Chudnow Community is a full continuum of care community with assisted living, independent living, memory care, and rehab. She works with residents specifically in Memory and Rehab. According to Fischer, “Therapy dogs provide therapeutic stimulation, primarily in our Memory Care Center, where residents with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias live. The pets visit on a regular basis. One particular resident, a Holocaust survivor, was afraid of dogs, but now she smiles when one particular dog comes, and she pets him. The animals help residents to relax, and they stimulate laughter.”
SIDE-BAR: Reducing Health Risks from your Companion Animal 
Kids, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for getting sick from animals. Take these steps to reduce your risk.
o Wash hands thoroughly after contact with animals.
o Keep your animal companion clean and healthy, and keep vaccinations up to date.
o Supervise children under age 5 while they’re interacting with animals.
o Prevent kids from kissing their animal companion or putting their hands or other objects in their mouths after touching animals.
o Avoid changing litter boxes during pregnancy. Problem pregnancies may arise from toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease spread by exposure to cat feces.
Special thanks to experts who contributed to this article:
1. Allen Wagner, LMFT, learn more about him at www.alosangelestherapist.com
2. Esai, See Pres Release for more information, or to learn more about the program at http://prn.to/18CUHyW
3. Tammy Delgado, PR Connector, 919 Marketing; & Chris Dobson, former Vet Tech and owner, SYNERGY HomeCare franchise
4. Marlene Heller, Director Marketing & Communications, Jewish Home and Care Center Chai Point, Sarah Chudnow Community [Milwaukee WI]; & Malia Fischer, Activity Coordinator
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