Pets can be difficult to take care of at times, but they also provide beneficial relationships for many seniors and disabled persons. The following are some examples:
1. Companionship. Having pet can help prevent a senior from feeling lonely and provide a close relationship with daily interactions.
2. Exercise. Taking a dog out for daily walks or to the bathroom provides opportunity, need, and motivation to the dog owner to exercise in a fun, relaxed way. Staying physically active is important for everyone as we age.
3. Lower Stress. Owning a pet has been shown to decrease stress levels. Many nursing homes now offer “pet therapy” (nothing more than interacting and touching an animal) to residents in an effort to address stress. Taking care of an animal also gives the person a sense of responsibility and being needed.
4. Icebreaker to Make New Friends. Having a pet oftentimes helps people meet others and make new friends. The pet can be a great conversation-starter. Pets can also help someone getting to know new neighbors after a recent move.
5. Protection. Having a pet can offer protection, especially if it’s a dog. A barking dog has been shown to be a more effective deterrent than even an alarm system!
6. Responsibility. A pet does require daily care but this can be beneficial for seniors who like to care for others. Mothers, and fathers, often feel a sense of worthlessness as their children and grandchildren grow up and spend more hours away from home. A pet, even a cat or a fish, provides a sense of worth and a level of responsibility important to isolated seniors.
So having a pet can benefit a senior or disabled citizen in many ways, as long as they are capable of taking care of the animal or have a support system willing to help. If your family member is having challenges caring for their animal, or you would like more information please contact us at 877.323.5916.