Many researchers believe the number one disease for seniors isn’t heart disease or cancer. It’s loneliness! Loneliness is pervasive among the elder population, and can lead to other physical and mental health issues. The senior person may not get out as much as they used to, and may not have as many visitors coming in to see them.
Having a pet in the home has proven health benefits. What do pets offer? They provide affection, companionship, unconditional love and someone to talk to, pet and cuddle with. Pets are a superb loneliness fighter. Pets don’t argue or talk back; they don’t fight or talk grumpy.
There are many pets in shelters waiting to be adopted. What a wonderful idea to match up one of these lovely pets with your lonely elder. It would be of great benefit to both! For example, take Robert, age 92 who adopted a dog named Tippy. When he was told Tippy couldn’t see that well Robert exclaimed, we have something in common! Robert and Tippy immediately became fast friends. Robert’s elder care provider helps him fill the food and water dishes, but every morning Robert is up and excited about the morning walk with his dog.
Lydia always had a pet cat when she was growing up but then she married; her husband had allergies so Lydia had gone many years without a pet. Now that her husband was gone, Lydia thought about getting a cat. She adopted Julius, an older male cat who needed a home. He immediately found a favorite place on the foot of her bed to sleep. Lydia’s daughter couldn’t believe the positive changes she saw in her elderly mom. She reported her mom’s mental health improved dramatically after adopting Julius.
Besides the fact that dog owners tend to be healthier because they must walk their pets every day, the health benefits go far beyond the extra walking. New inroads in research has confirmed the claims of earlier studies that pet ownership does indeed reduce a person’s risk for developing heart disease.
Pet owners enjoy lower blood pressure and felt higher sense of well-being overall, both mentally and physically. How can pets help keep people healthy? The enjoyment of companionship is good medicine; love helps to cure people. Pets are easy to love because they love you back without reservation, in other words they give unconditional love.
Small pets can be held and snuggled on the senior’s lap and brushed or petted for enjoyment. Larger pets are good too; just be careful of large dogs who get easily excited and might try to jump up. This could possibly knock an elderly person down.
Speak with your elderly loved one and find out what type of pet they would enjoy. They don’t need to worry about the responsibility of taking care of their pet all by themselves; elderly care providers can help in filling food and water dishes during the day.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from elderly care near Moraga CA, contact the caregivers at Hillendale Home Care. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (925) 948-8280 for more information.