When caring for your elderly loved one, it can be easy to notice social isolation, boredom, helplessness, and physical issues taking their toll. One way to help with these issues is a pet.
Research and Pet Care For Seniors
Research has shown pets benefit seniors by providing responsibility, purpose, and a daily routine. Seniors are kept busy either walking or exercising the pet. Blood pressure can be reduced when petting a furry animal and overall well-being is restored. It has been shown that pet owners have a decrease in medication use and better cardiovascular and muscular systems along with lower mortality rates.
Pet Care and Senior Activity
Pets offer a reason to get up each day. They need to be fed, exercised, groomed and loved. They are totally dependent on their owners in every way. Walking and exercising a dog can benefit an active senior’s health and socialization. A pet is entertaining and offers daily companionship when a senior does not live near family or friends. Also, conversing with a pet can be a one-sided, pleasant experience!
Choosing the Right Animal Companion for Your Loved One
Now, choosing the right pet for your loved one can be daunting. Recommendations are dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, or fish for seniors. Obviously, for an inactive senior, fish or birds can offer enjoyment and relaxation just by watching them and are relatively easy to care for besides the upkeep of their aquarium or cage. Additionally, rabbits are small and lightweight making them a great pet. They don’t take up much space, but do require daily upkeep. Cats can be entertaining with their playful personalities and antics and do not need outside daily exercise. Stroking a cats’ soft fur and listening to their purr is relaxing and calming for seniors.
Dogs come in all different sizes and shapes. Walking a strong large dog can be challenging for a senior. Generally, you should take note of their strength and temperament when choosing a pet. Small lap dogs are easier to handle and can use weewee pads with training. Choosing the right dog depends upon how active your loved one is, how much exercise and attention the dog needs, as well as allergies. Dogs are lovable, friendly, warmhearted, eager to please, and love to cuddle- a true companion and man’s best friend.
Senior Pets for Elderly Individuals
Adopting a senior dog or cat may be the wisest choice after carefully selecting the breed. Generally, the training and routine of a puppy can be overwhelming for many able-bodied individuals. Shelters are full of lovable cats and dogs waiting for a forever home that can adapt easily to a new home. Let your loved one help in the selection of the pet. Personalities can click, which can make the choice easy.
Visiting Animal Companionship
Be mindful of the possibility that your loved one at some point may not be able to keep up and no longer be able to properly care for their pet. Think about if you would be able to care for the pet or give it to someone who can care for it. If your loved one does not agree to a pet, arrange for a dog or cat to visit them in their home. This may be enough interaction with an animal for them or it may spark a desire to own and take care of their own pet. There are a variety of programs that bring visiting animal companions to seniors in need.
Therapeutic Companion Pets
Another alternative for those who may be experiencing Alzheimer’s or Dementia and are unable to care for a real pet would be Therapeutic Companion Pets. They require batteries, have life-like fur for petting, and even purr offering the same calming effect of real lap-pets. Remember, pets can add joy, purpose, and fulfillment to your loved ones’ life. It is a lot to consider but maybe worth it.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has been providing excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help the elderly and disabled live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact us by clicking here, or call (718)-979-6900.