We have all heard the old adage “dogs are man’s best friend”, but little did we know just how true that phrase is!
As we age, our circle of friends and family starts to get smaller and smaller and the onset of loneliness becomes a concern. Having feelings of loneliness or being alone for long periods of time is evident as our mobility diminishes making our capacity to socialize increasingly more challenging. Home Health Care services, such as Ideal Caregivers 4u, provide human companionship and caregiving for the elderly to ensure their physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being are cared for.
However, some seniors may require just a little bit more and when it comes to the benefits of companionship, pets can be quite powerful! Pets provide a meaningful, purposeful living for seniors that enhance their physical and mental wellness.
Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors
Companionship – having a pet in the home reduces the feelings of isolation. Dogs and cats, in particular, adapt their personalities to those of their keepers. They are intuitive and can sense their mood and offer affection and comfort when you feel sad or anxious.
Routine – whether it’s feeding, grooming, or physical activity, having a pet provides a much-needed routine. Having a routine improves cognitive function and memory and provides a sense of purpose.
Physical Activity – while a person’s mobility decreases as they age, taking your beloved dog for his daily walk or playing fetch can improve their physical functioning for daily living and even lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
What to consider when choosing a pet
Pet ownership should always be carefully considered and not entered into on a whim. Here are some items to consider when thinking about getting a pet for you or your elderly loved one.
Are they set in their ways? For those who already have a routine or like things done a “certain way”, having a pet may be more of a challenge when adapting to the needs of the animal. They must be open to change.
Have they had a pet before? Prior pet ownership isn’t a requirement, but it does help when opening your home to a new pet. Clear guidelines and an understanding of what is required to feed, groom, and care for the animal is necessary.
What is the age of the animal? For some with an active lifestyle, they may benefit from having a younger pet who can keep up with their activity level and stamina, especially for those daily dog walks. For people with mobility concerns, having an older animal will benefit them, as the pace is slower and they can be less of a physical challenge when caring for them.
Whether a dog, a cat, a bird, or a guinea pig, the healing powers of pets can greatly benefit anyone at any age. Take the time to research what type of pet you are willing to open your home to, what financial costs will it entail (food, vet bills, etc.), and what you can do to make your home more pet-friendly.