Monday, August 31, 2015

Could your Senior Benefit from a Pet?

Having a pet can be a wonderful experience. Many people have grown up with these companions and consider them to be a part of their family. They treat their pets as they would a child and make sure they’re well loved and cared for. While it can be fun romping around with a dog or cat as a child, it can be just as enjoyable as a senior. Pets can bring many benefits to the lives of the elderly.

Reduces stress and boosts mood: There’s something very calming about stroking a dog or cat’s fur. When seniors become stressed or agitated, spending time with a pet can be soothing and reduce blood pressure. Also, cats and dogs are known for their playful spirits and humorous antics. Watching a dog chase its tail or a cat jump after a string can bring a smile to their face.

Provides physical activity: For seniors who are fairly mobile, a dog can be a good source of exercise. They love to take walks and can be a friendly companion. This can motivate your loved one to get up and moving and stay active. Also, brushing a pet, playing with them, feeding them, and caring for them in general encourages a lot of muscle movement such as bending and stretching. However it is not too strenuous and can provide small spurts of activity.

Brings a sense of purpose: After retiring, some seniors become bored and restless. They no longer have as much to fill up their days. Caring for a pet can give them a sense of purpose and accountability. Their dog or cat is relying on them to provide for them. They need love, attention, food, and exercise. Seniors know that it is their responsibility to let the dog out, make sure their pet is fed and brushed, and look out for its general wellbeing.

Offers companionship: Depression and loneliness can become a concern for seniors. A pet offers companionship and someone to keep them company. Although they don’t talk back, it is still another living being in their presence that responds to talking and action. Seniors can talk to their pet and it gives them something to talk about with others. They can share funny stories and pictures. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a warm body there who will love them unconditionally.

Before springing a pet upon your elderly parent, first consider their ability to properly care for it. If they have trouble moving around, a cat may be better than a dog, and an older animal may be easier to care for than a younger one. Talk to them about what they might like to get and take them along to pick it out. Ask questions about the animal’s temperament and needs to make sure it’s a good fit.

If they need some extra support, an in-home caregiver from Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville can assist with basic pet care along with other tasks around the home. They can make sure your senior’s needs are being met and they are staying safe while maintaining their independence. Contact Always Best Care at (828) 989-7263 or visit us online to find out senior care can benefit your loved one.

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