Taking Aging By Storm—Therapy Dog Joins The Village At Rockville

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Storm, a two-year-old, 60-pound Black Labrador, is the latest addition to The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community (TVAR) in Rockville, Md. TVAR welcomed Storm on Monday, May 16, 2016—her first week consisted of training and learning the ropes with residents and staff.  The addition of Storm was made possible by a donation from Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod’s Gifts of Hope program and the training provided by Lee Hamilton of Man’s Best Friend Dog Training in Madison, Ohio.

“We are so excited that Storm is making her home here. We believe in the power of pet therapy and how that benefits not only seniors, but our staff too,” Susannah Brooks, director of resident services at TVAR said. “It is proven that pets help lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Whether you are nine or 90, who doesn’t need that?”

Numerous studies support the practice of pet therapy. A German and Australian study* followed 9,000 pet owners from 1996 to 2001. The study found that pet owners had fewer doctor’s visits, resulting in health care savings of over $3 billion dollars.  The Journal of American Geriatric Society (Volume 2014) suggests that a care-taking role of an animal may give older individuals a sense of responsibility and purpose that contributes to their overall wellbeing.  The Journal discovered that pet owners are better able to perform certain activities of daily living, such as the ability to bend, kneel, stoop, take medication, prepare meals, bathe and dress.

“Storm is one of many pets we are incorporating to help seniors thrive,” TVAR Executive Director Jason Gottschalk said. “We believe that Storm, and our other pets, increase the health benefits for our residents and staff.  This is one of the many ways we cultivate an environment that empowers seniors to thrive in all dimensions of life.”  

About The Village at Rockville (TVAR)
The Village at Rockville—A National Lutheran Community in Rockville, Md., is a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) that offers independent living, myPotential short-term and outpatient rehabilitation, respite, long-term nursing care, hospice, assisted living and memory support. For more information, visit www.thevillageatrockville.org

About National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS)
Based in Rockville, Md., NLCS is a faith-based, not-for-profit ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Delaware-Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Virginia Synods, serving people of all beliefs. With more than 125-years’ experience, NLCS provides seniors with a variety of lifestyle, residential and health care options through retirement communities and services in Maryland and Virginia.

Other communities and services sponsored by National Lutheran include The Village at Rockville in Rockville, Md., The Legacy at North Augusta in Staunton, Va., The Village at Orchard Ridge and myPotential at Home in Winchester, Va., and The Village at Crystal Spring in Annapolis, Md., subject to Maryland Department of Aging approval. For more information, visit www.nationallutheran.org 


*Headey, Bruce; Grabka, Markus; Kelley, Jonathan; Reddy, Prasuna and Tseng, Yi-Ping. Pet Ownership is Good for Your Health and Saves Public Expenditure Too: Australian and German Longitudinal Evidence. Australian Social Monitor, Vol. 5, No. 4, Nov 2002: 93-99.

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