Animal etc. AAT helps in creating a strong bond

Animal assisted therapy (AAT) is a form of therapy where
animals are used for the treatment of people who deal with social, physical, mental
and emotional stress. Animals can be
useful for motivational effectiveness of the patients. Mostly this type of
therapy is used in nursing homes and elderly patients who benefit from it. Animal assisted
therapy teams that consist of a certified therapy animal and a trained handler
.Therapy teams visit hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and
other similar facilities to help the elderly patients to get a recovery. AAT patients may
walk therapy animals, play with them, feed them or groom them. Some therapy
animals are trained to sit quietly and attentively and become the companions of
the elderly patients .This therapy is usually offered in a range of settings,
including retirement living, community care, residential aged care homes,
rehabilitation centers, and in a senior’s own home. Animals used for the
therapy can range from domesticated pets to beautiful farm animals. Depending
on the needs of the patient, many different animals can be used in therapy,
including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits etc. AAT helps in creating a strong
bond between animals and the patients. The aim of this research is to find out the
benefits that are achieved by AAT in nursing homes and for elderly patients and
which all disorders can be cured by this therapy.

METHODOLOGY-This research  includes
articles from PubMed, and other reliable sources , also the articles that are based
on research conducted using animals certified for AAT and have been evaluated
by professional trainer or veterinarian as only use of well-trained animals can
be considered as AAT. The study also includes AAT used for treatment of
dementia, depression, etc. in elderly patients .This research excludes the
articles that were based on animal assisted therapy related to children and middle-
aged people ,articles that included the use of female animal in season and
non-human primate due to their aggressive behavior and also those articles that
includes patients presented with allergy or aversion towards animals .The study
also excluded the articles that were more than 10 years old since publication
in order to provide the most recent information.

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FINDINGS-Many of the
studies proved that AAT has a very strong positive influence in nursing homes
and on elderly patients such as in improving fine motor skills ,increasing ones self-esteem ,the ability to care for oneself
,reducing blood pressure , heart attack or stroke , anxiety, grief , isolation
and improving the quality of social interaction .Studies shows that animals
such as dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits ,cats, birds, fishes etc. help the patients
to remain active across seasons by promoting their physical activity. These
animals become a source of companionship, affection and joy for the patients.
Most of the recent studies showed the use of animals with elderly patients who
have been alleviated to manifestations of cognitive disorders .The elderly
patients with variety of disorders are benefited by this therapy and among them
are the patients who suffer from dementia and depression . Several investigations
have piloted the use of animals in the treatment of depression of elderly
patients. One small trial showed even a brief intervention that conferred some
benefit ,thirty-five individuals who were about to receive electroconvulsive
therapy (ECT) spent 15 minutes with a dog or the same period of time reading
magazines before ECT treatment sessions . All subjects had both types of
pretreatment every other day. Individuals reported lower levels of fear about
the upcoming ECT rated on visual analogue scales when they had sessions with
the dog. In a similar trial, forty-two depressed patients spent time waiting
for ECT in rooms with or without aquariums. The presence of aquariums did not
influence the pretreatment anxiety, fear, or depressive symptoms the patients
experienced. With the help of this AAT animals provide intangible benefits to
the mental health of older persons, such as relief social isolation and boredom
on behavior in demented persons. Animals could also help alleviate problematic
behaviors in demented individuals such as improving their ability to socialize,
since animals are accepting, and
non-judgmental, it helps these elderly patients to open up their minds and
relieve their pain. Animals have a positive influence on the behavior of
demented elderly owners. In one comparison survey, demented pet owners were
less likely to exhibit verbal aggression but were otherwise similar to non-pet
owners in likelihood of vegetative, hyperactive, or psychotic behaviors .One of
an investigation also explored the effects of animals on these demented elderly
individuals. A dementia unit for US veterans piloted the use of a pet dog to
elicit for socialization. Twelve demented patients exhibited a significant
larger number of social behaviors, such as smiling or speaking in the presence
of the dog, implying that animals might create benefit apart from any effect on
cognition .Several investigations of the effect of pets on physical health
suggest animals can lower blood pressure, and dog walkers partake in more
physical activity. Dog walking, in epidemiological studies and few preliminary
trials, is associated with lower complication risk among patients with
cardiovascular disease. Around two-thirds of all US households and close to
half of elderly people own animals. One of the study showed that usage of
birds, conferred psychological benefits to cognitively unimpaired older
individuals; 144 persons without cognitive impairment in nursing homes in Italy
were exposed to either a canary, a plant, or neither of the two .The
individuals assigned to care for a canary or plant were provided with care
instructions and participated in a three-month intervention, the details of
which were not specified in the paper. Subjects who cared for the bird had
significantly better scores at the end of the intervention on subscales of
psychological symptoms. Around Two-thirds of all US households and close to
half of elderly individuals own pets. Investigations involving pets other than
dogs and birds also shows to improve the health of older individuals that have
involved many species, including guinea pigs ,cats, and manufactured
simulations of animals.

CONCLUSION-Based on the findings this research comes to the conclusion
that Animal-assisted therapy is designed to promote improvement in human
physical, social, emotional, or cognitive function, and shows a great benefit
in nursing homes and elderly patients. This
type of therapy is associated with reduced state anxiety levels for elderly patients
with a variety of psychiatric diagnoses. AAT has been also found very
beneficial for older people with disorders such as Depression which is a
feeling of sadness and loss of interest in doing things and Dementia which is
the loss of memory that creates behavioral and psychological problems. This
therapy helps in making these patients feel good and ease their loneliness, stress
and depression and improve their health. Animals can act as a support system in
nursing homes and for elderly patients who don’t have any family, or close
friends.