5/22/2013 – Stuffed Animals as Therapy for the Elderly?

Walking by the gift shop at my mother-in-law’s nursing home, I did a double take. The shelves were lined with stuffed animals. My first thought was, why are they here? This is not a place with kids. Then I realized, it’s for the 80- and 90-year-old residents.

Could a stuffed animal provide the same tactile comfort as a live pet? Research abounds about the power of pet therapy for the elderly, the grief-stricken and the emotionally challenged. Stroking an animal, particularly a dog, has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce agitation and anxiety and produce a sense of well-being.

Read the full article at AARP.