Having animals in old folks’ “gardens”

You’ll like this: http://www.nextavenue.org/he-broke-the-law-to-build-a-better-nursing-home/

Animals in a Nursing Home

So, what did Thomas do? The Washington Post explains:

“[Dr. Thomas] decided to transform the nursing home. Based on a hunch, he persuaded his staff to stock the facility with two dogs, four cats, several hens and rabbits, and 100 parakeets, along with hundreds of plants, a vegetable and flower garden, and a day-care site for staffers’ kids.

“He named the approach the Eden Alternative — based on the idea that a nursing home should be less like a hospital and more like a garden — and it was replicated in hundreds of institutions in Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia as well as in all 50 U.S. states (the animal restriction in New York was voted down).”

The Not-So-Big Approach

Thomas has also pioneered small, intimate residences that he calls Green Houses, where residents have their own bedrooms and bathrooms.

The result: “Within six weeks, they had to send a truck around to pick up all the wheelchairs,”

Old-woman-and-dog images

More support for pets for the elderly: http://www.petsfortheelderly.org/research.html

Results of a three-year study of 5,741 people at the Baker Medical Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia, show that pet owners had lower blood pressure and triglyceride and cholesterol levels than did non-owners – a result that could not be explained by such personal differences as cigarette smoking, diet, weight or socio-economic profile…

…Of the 3,394 men and 2,347 women engaged in the study, 784 reported that they owned one or more pets.

…they showed significantly lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, as well as lower systolic blood pressure readings than for non-pet owners…When examining the results, researchers tried to determine if there was some factor other than pet ownership that was influencing the outcome. Not so.

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