All of us who have had pets in our homes growing up know the joys that these beings can bring to our lives. We are very familiar with the benefits that pets bring us like love, companionship, physical well-being and structure, just to name a few. This becomes even more important as we age and makes pets for the elderly a great way to stay active in many ways.
Pets for the Elderly: Health Benefits
As people age, they tend to become less active. There are many reasons for this. Some people have chronic illnesses that prevent them from staying physically active. Some lose long-time friends or just lose touch. Family members may have moved long distances away.
For many elderly individuals living alone, they really are missing something to enhance their well-being. This is companionship. Having a pet can dramatically improve the physical and mental health of the elderly and prevent isolation.
Many studies have shown that seniors with pets can reduce heart disease, increase physical activity, and help with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Having a pet can also reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Getting a new pet can encourage reading books to learn all about the breed or type of pet. This is important for mental stimulation at an elderly age.
Dog owners get the valuable benefit of regular exercise as the dogs must be taken outside for walks.
Pets provide a natural ice-breaker in social situations. Your pet will introduce you to many people you might otherwise not meet by yourself. This goes for neighbors or complete strangers. Social stimulation is an important part of staying healthy as we age.
Whether you want it or not, pets keep you on a set schedule. Dogs especially need to be walked, fed and nurtured throughout the day. This can help an elderly person have more self-discipline than those who do not have a pet.
Security and Quality of Life
Elderly people who live with a pet and not totally alone, enjoy life and not just go through the motions. Dogs can help keep an individual’s independence and keep them safe. They provide a built-in alarm system in many cases, and can be an ear for the hard of hearing or deaf. They can also provide eyes for the blind.
Before an elderly person takes on the responsibility of owning a pet there are many things to consider:
- Does the elderly person have experience caring for a pet?
- Are there any disabilities that would make it hard to manage a pet that is not a trained service animal?
- Is the pet the right age for the person?
- Does the pet need to be house trained?
- Is the pet healthy?
- Does the pet have a good temperament?
- Does the elderly person need a therapy pet?
- Are there any financial concerns?
It is also a good idea to make sure that the pet is put in the elderly persons will so that it will be taken care of in the event that it outlives its owner. Make sure that there is a contact in the case of emergency. At the end of they day, pets for the elderly can simply provide love and be a best friend.
Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah in St. George provides compassionate in-home care. We can offer your elderly loved one(s), and their pet a variety of services: companionship, light housekeeping, meal prep and planning, transportation to and from social activities and more. Visit our website www.goldenheartsouthernutah.com or call (435) 669-3704. You’re in Good Hands with Golden Heart!
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