What has four legs, like to wag its tail and has the ability to lower blood pressure and naturally increase the production of oxytocin, thereby lowering our stress levels?
That’s right Rover is good for more than fetching things. A dog or cat or guinea pig or any other animal used in the correct manner by a caregiver and care receiver can do a lot to lift the spirits and take large bites of time out of the caregiving journey.
Studies have shown that when a person has a connection with an animal it can assist them to feel more socially involved and that the ailing and aged when visited by an animal are more receptive to medications, therapies and even nutrition.
Animal interactions have a way of bringing back memories of past pets. Suddenly daughter finds out that when Mom was 13 she had a dog named Pixie that wore tutus or the grandson who listens with rapt attention as Grandpa tells of his faithful hunting dogs and their mighty conquests.
However there are few things to keep in mind before adding pet therapy into your caregiving routine:
What type of animal would be most comforting? – If Mom is afraid of dogs, a large Rottweiler coming for a visit would probably not be a good thing. However, a small Chihauhua or cat might be a better fit.
Why is the animal coming for a visit? – If the goal is to let Dad exercise his hands by petting a lap cat or older dog would be a better choice than a puppy or skittish kitten. However, if a game of fetch is preferred than something with more pep is your best bet.
What is the temperament of the animal? – It has been found that some animals have the ability to change their temperament to that of those around them. Animals that are normally balls of energy will be quite calm around those who are sick or depressed. It seems these animals have the ability to feel our pain, our stress and our joys. However, not all animals are so blessed so pick your animal visitor wisely and with your loved one in mind.
When is the best time to visit and for how long? – As a caregiver you probably have a good idea of when your loved one is at his or her best. Scheduling your animal interaction during this time is key as it sets everyone involved up for the best experience possible. If for instance you were to schedule your sister’s cat to come for a visit during bath time, the cat would probably not be too happy nor would your loved one. Plus by setting a time limit it ensures that you will not be left caring for your loved one and a trying to take the dog for a walk.
Adding animals to your caregiving routine can be a bit of a hassle, but the memories and smiles you share with your loved one might give you the incentive to find this type of therapy just purrfect!
My father has been here only a little over 2 months. The positive change in him has been DRAMATIC! I would HIGHLY recommend Azura........ I would give it 10 stars if they allowed it! This is the premier facility for any family member with cognitive issues! They do treat residents like family, believe it!
Review posted by Stephen Diedrich
The staff at Oak Creek are all fabulous! It takes special people to care for our loved ones. If has been a trying year for all and the staff at oak creek get a shout out for their kindness and compassion they give to my mom and the others. They have all gone above and beyond to make things seem as normal as possible for my mom! All of the staff have been so helpful and kind! They are all fabulous!!
Review posted by Mary Kubacki
"We want to thank you for the loving special care you took of our mother, Diane. It was truly mom's home and you all became part of our family. Everything was home for her....from the beautiful rooms, large sunny windows all around, good food made with love, fun and personal activities from people who really loved our mom. We would highly recommend your facility to anyone. The staff from the director, to the doctor, to the nurse, to the caregivers and the maintenance man were all extremely helpful, caring, loving and professional. There are not enough words to say how much we appreciate all of you. Your exceptional care, kindness, and love were beyond anything we could have imagined. You were part of our family, and we will miss you." - Gail Sommers and Deborah Guse
Review posted by Gail Sommers & Deborah Guse
Just moved my sister-in-law to Azura Stoughton on February 12th. I feel like I’ve found a little piece of dementia heaven. The staff has gone way beyond my expectations to meet her needs and take time to know her. Anyone who has dementia deserves the TLC they receive at Azura. I’m so impressed.
Review posted by Gail Aaroen
Thank you to the Azura Memory Care team, Sheboygan location for the amazing, loving care they provided my dad. They truly loved and cared for my dad as if he was their own. It is such a warm, loving, family environment I only wish we would have moved my dad there years earlier!
Review posted by Patti Bunch
Review posted by Ron Paxson
I have enjoyed working with patients at Azura Care as a Physical Therapist Assistant. The staff has been very helpful in sharing important information about the patients to make their therapy sessions as productive as possible. They are open to learning techniques to help keep patients safe and improve their ability to perform daily tasks with less assistance. Their interactions with patients show caring and compassion with a focus on the needs of each individual to enjoy the best quality of life possible.
Review posted by Barb Eisenberg
The journey of caregiving for my Aunt started over 4 years ago. It has been a very long difficult journey. It is hard to watch and frustrating to watch a loved one decline, as well as for them to live the decline. My Aunt found her final peace at Azura Memory Care in Sheboygan. It was not only her peace but mine as well. I no longer had to worry about her care as I could see that she was loved by her Azura family. She passed away on June 21 and they knew how important that it was for me to be there, but I also found peace that if I was not there, she was with family that loved her. No words can express the appreciation for the care, compassion and love that they have for all their residents. God has opened many doors through my journey and the doors at Azura were truly a gift from God. This family made a difference in a long journey. I will always have them in my thoughts and prayers. They are where and doing what they are meant to do!