Running head: AAT AND CONGNITIVE FUNCTIONING IN THE ELDERLY 1AAT and Cognitive Functioning in the ElderlyNameInstructorCourseDate
AAT AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING IN THE ELDERLY2AAT and Cognitive Functioning in the ElderlyOne of the recently studied areas of animal assisted therapy is its efficacy in improving the cognitive functioning among the elderly. Historically, animal assisted therapy (AAT) has proven instrumental in the treatment of various conditions among people of different ages. The elderly group of people is more susceptible to various physiological, mental and psychological illnesses which calls for increased and new intervention techniques to relieve them off the painful conditions that attack them at their age. One of the relatively new areas of intervention among the elderly is the use of animal assisted therapy as a way of improving cognitive functioning of this group of patients. Cognitive functioning simply entails a set of mental processes and abilities relating to memory, knowledge, reasoning, judgment, evaluation, problemsolving, computation, decision making, language production, comprehension, among others. Research shows that cognition reduces as one ages particularly due to increased susceptibility to mental diseases such as dementia. Animal assisted therapy is typically directed at relieving the symptoms of conditions such as dementia as a way of fostering the cognitive capacity of elderly patients. As this application of AAT is relatively new, more future research needs to be carried out to establish its efficacy in boosting cognitive functioning among old individuals. This paper explores the effectiveness of animal assisted therapy as a treatment option for increasing cognitive functioning in the elderly.
AAT AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING IN THE ELDERLY3Literature ReviewAs stated above, one of the most recently studied sectors of animal assisted therapy is its role in boosting the cognitive functioning of the elderly in the society. The effectiveness of AAT in the field of cognitive functioning treatment is still under scrutiny though a number of research studies have made a considerable effort in establishing its usefulness. The general hypothesis of studies in the area of AAT and cognitive functioning is that animal assisted therapy helps improve the cognitive ability and other facets of health among the elderly. The main dependent variable in the studies is cognitive functioning of the elderly though it takes various forms such as symptoms of dementia or other conditions relating to the mental aspect of the elderly.