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Past research fails to make connections comparing appropriate settings for the benefits of different species of therapy and resident animals in long-term care facilities specifically for the elderly. Two types of animal-assisted interactions (therapy and resident) and four animal species (birds, cats, dogs, and fish) were compared. The findings were sorted into five categories of benefits (behavioral, mental, physical, physiological, and social) and three additional structural variables (affordability, accessibility, and cons). Appropriate activities for each species were also suggested. The review revealed it is important for the facility to consider its budget, number and ailments of residents, type of preferred accessibility, and preferred goal. By being aware of different characteristics of each animal species, such as benefits and affordability, facilities would be able to make an informed decision when considering which animal-assisted intervention would be an appropriate fit for their residents.


Originally published in Activities, Adaptation & Aging, Volume 2, pgs. 1-22.

DOI: 10.1080/01924788.2017.1306380