Keeping Pets can be a Necessity for Seniors
A growing number of Seniors are keeping pets throughout the golden years.
There are benefits to owning pets at any age, but it is especially nice for seniors. Often times, it has been the pet that has provided much needed companionship and comfort to its senior owner.
Owning a cat or dog can give people a sense of purpose and well-being as they take care of another living creature. Most pet owners consider their pets “family members.”
“We found that pet owners, on average, were better off than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets,” says pet researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD. He’s a professor of psychology at Miami University. “What [makes] a meaningful relationship varies from person to person.”
It’s no doubt that most pet owners develop an attachment to their furry family members. Because of this bond, it could be devastating for a senior to lose a pet due to their own failing health conditions. Some seniors have to move out of their family home and into an apartment or retirement home as they lose their independence and self-sufficiency and can’t take their pet(s) with them.
As caregivers, we may need to provide care for a client’s pet as well as the client. At Advanced Home Health Care, LLC, we can provide services to our clients’ pets. We actually like it very much! It is our belief that providing great pet care can potentially keep our clients happier and healthier.
Studies have shown that petting your dog or cat can lower blood pressure. Dog owners may walk more which is good for overall health. Because it feels good to you and your pet, your body may release a relaxation hormone that can cut down on levels of a stress hormone. “It also soothes your pet,” says Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University.
Studies also show that heart attack survivors and people with serious abnormal heart rhythms who own dogs live longer than people with the same heart problems who don’t have pets (Fields, 2013).
As family members of seniors, we need to remember these important benefits of keeping pets with their elderly owners. It’s evident that pets can help with physical well-being and emotional well-being.
Source: Lisa Fields, “6 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health”, WebMD site, Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on 24 October, 2013