The lifetime probability of becoming cognitively impaired or disabled in one to two daily living activities for elders is 68%. Consequently, organizations and healthcare professionals have been searching for ways to improve the lives of these senior citizens. Rochester-based LiFeline’s program, Pet Assisted Therapy Extended Stay, is helping elders as they struggle with old age.
According to Lady Freethinker, they provide Rochester nursing homes, hospice centers, and residential care facilities with cats and kitten to help spread some positivity. The cats are lent to the various elderly facilities and the younger kittens are subsequently put up for adoption afterward. Because the kittens are so adorable and filled with joy, the elders have a sense of happiness wash over them the first time they see them, and the added therapeutic benefits come later.
“Many residents cannot have pets now, so the chance to cuddle a chilled out kitty is great for them,” said a nursing home employee. “The seniors love telling stories about their past pets, and ask us to take pictures of them with the cats.”
BoredPanda reports that Ohio, among other states, has adopted various forms of pet therapy for their elderly centers as well.
The Ohio Alleycat Resource shelter has a similar program to LiFeline and brings elderly cats to elderly people.
“Having them visit retirement and nursing home communities is a great way for the cats to socialize outside of the shelter and bring joy to the seniors,” said a member of Ohio Alleycat Resource.
The inevitable smiles that come with the cat’s presence aren’t the only benefits that these struggling seniors can enjoy. Cats can help promote bone health and growth, relief pain, reduce swelling, heal wounds, and repair muscles in elders thanks to their purr vibrations. Kittens can also stimulate memory in those struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.