In this modern era for seniors living alone, a pet can make the difference between feelings loneliness and isolation versus unconditional love and feelings of being needed.
Many seniors, especially those with mobility limitations suffer from isolation and loneliness. These feelings often lead to negative chronic health conditions. Learn how our furry four legged friends can open a new world of joy and life.
Benefits for Elderly of Having a Pet
1. A pet's unconditional love is non-judgmental. Others, perhaps family members, may be difficult to get along with. Over time relationships undergo rifts and can bring emotional turmoil. While people often hold grudges, pets live in the moment. A pet doesn't care if you spend the day watching soap operas or forget a birthday. They offer absolute love around the clock.
2. Walking, feeding, and playing with a pet keeps seniors more physically active, and this has several health benefits. Simply having a life full of energy around the house can bring about a positive effect by proximity.
3. The loving dealings and interactions with a pet have the power to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol, thus improving overall cardio health. Research has shown that the simple physical contact of petting a beloved pet is beneficial to one's health. In essence, a pet can help a senior live longer and happier.
4. Taking care of a pet improves a person's self-awareness. Most pet owners are likely to improve the way they care for themselves - preparing regular meals and improving daily hygiene habits, such as taking a shower. Having a pet creates natural, daily routines, which, in turn, will raise their self-esteem.
5. Walking a dog provides seniors an opportunity to chat with their neighbors and develop greater social interactions. Few situations contribute to a senior's loneliness more than staying indoors for extended periods of time.
6. Interacting and playing with a pet will help alleviate feelings of anxiety. Therapy pets are becoming increasingly recognized for their health benefits, even the medical industry cannot deny this. According to Mayo Clinic, "Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders."
7. Many seniors lack a sense of commitment or reason to get out of bed. A pet provides an elderly person with a purpose. Those morning walks will soon become an activity seniors look forward to. As humans, we frequently live in our minds and in the past (a world filled with regrets and perhaps loss) and the future (the unknown world filled with worries about health and other concerns). A pet requires a senior to remain in the here and now. It helps him or her take greater control of his or her day and make the most of it.
What to Think About Before Getting a Pet
While most elderly people will benefit from a pet, it is important to decide on the best pet for the individual.
1. Is the senior experienced with pets? If he or she is especially set in their ways a pet may interfere with a daily routine, especially a dog that requires walking.
2. How mobile is the senior when it comes to walking a dog? If mobility is limited a cute and cuddly kitten may be a better choice.
3. Many seniors live on a limited fixed income. It is important to calculate the cost of food, toys, and visits to the vet.
4. Seniors may want to consider adopting an already-trained, lower-energy pet instead of an active puppy.
5. In the event the senior has to be absent from home for a few days (visiting relatives or perhaps remaining in the hospital), is there a neighbor or friend who can care for the pet? This should be considered prior to bringing a pet into the home.
Best Breed of Dogs for Seniors
Everyone wants an adorable puppy. But an active, untrained, and demanding puppy is likely not to be a perfect match for an elderly person. Seniors match up best with moderate-energy, small size dogs. Many seniors end up downsizing to low maintenance living quarters, so the size of the dog is an important consideration. Following is a list of breeds that are a perfect match for seniors. They require less grooming and exercise than many other dogs while holding an easy-going temperament.
1. Any poodle, whether standard, miniature, or toy, makes a terrific companion. They are intelligent, don't need much walking, and only require one monthly grooming.
2. A Maltese is small and needs only limited exercise, which is ideal for a mobile-challenged senior. Brushing them every day is a relaxing activity that provides seniors with a focus and purpose.
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are easy, undemanding, and want nothing more than to snuggle with their owner.
4. A greyhound is a larger dog, but one who is loving and affectionate. Many adult greyhounds require a home after completing a racing career.
5. The bichon frise is a joyful small bundle. They are smart and easy to train and are fairly low maintenance. A bit of exercise each day will keep a bichon frise content.
6. A West Highland White Terrier is under 20 pounds and low-maintenance. Keep a Westie groomed once a month, and he or she will make a loving companion. Conclusion Aging can mean having one's family move away and experiencing feelings of loneliness. While a pet can never replace the hug of a family member, they can help keep seniors healthy and active, leading healthy and enjoyable lives.
Aging can mean having one's family move away and experiencing feelings of loneliness. While a pet can never replace the hug of a family member, they can help keep seniors healthy and active, leading healthy and enjoyable lives.
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