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Why Pet Ownership Is Rewarding For The Elderly

Nov 2, 2014 by Florida Comfort Keeper

Owning a pet can be enjoyable and rewarding for individuals of all ages.

Who doesn’t appreciate the joyous greeting your dog displays whenever you return home for the day, tail wagging furiously – that sparkle in his eyes just for you personally? Or, how about snuggling together with your soft, sweet cat, her gentle purr tickling your ears?

Their antics are certain to bring a smile to you regardless of what’s going on, and also the love they have for you personally is sure to lift your heart on even your worst day.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of pet ownership for the elderly.

Health and Well-Being

Not only do pets provide a warm and fuzzy feeling for their owners, it’s becoming recognized that owning a pet may be advantageous to a person’s health and general well-being, particularly for the elderly. In depth study has shown that seniors who have pets may have lower cholesterol and blood pressure, shortened hospital stays, more socialization, and might be much less susceptible to bouts of depression.

Walking a dog encourages physical activity, and caring for an animal fosters the caregiving side of an individual, fulfilling our natural nurturing instincts. Numerous assisted living facilities are now permitting visits by dogs since the interaction with the elderly may be therapeutic in lifting their spirits and brightening their days, decreasing stress, anxiousness and loneliness.

Companionship

Diane Pomerance, PhD, is very well known pet expert who has published seven books on numerous subjects of owning pets. She believes one of the most important things owning a pet brings to people (of any age) is companionship.   This can be very important to seniors who have lost friends and loved ones.

Filling a Loneliness Void

Pets don’t only provide comfort during difficult times such as dealing with grief over a lost friend/loved one, but they also give a person a reason to get up every day. Owning and caring for a pet can also help reduce feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is something that a lot of seniors tend to feel, so having a pet is a great way to fill that loneliness void because a pet will help them feel needed because the pet will rely on them to feed, water, and exercise them.

When Choosing a Pet Keep in Mind the Senior’s Physical Capabilities

While owning a pet is rewarding, they also require a lot of attention. If you have a senior loved one that wants to own a pet, it’s very important that you figure out which pet would be best for them based on what their physical capabilities are.  While having a fish tank can offer some of the same benefits as mentioned above, maintaining a fish tank takes a lot of work. A cat doesn’t need as much attention as what a dog does.  If your elderly loved one wants a dog, Dr. Pomerance recommends that they get an older one that is well trained instead of a puppy that will be hyper, need lots of training and require a lot more attention than an older dog.

Unconditional Love

Pet owners will inform you that absolutely nothing compares to the unconditional love that pets so freely give, forging a special bond that transcends the barriers human-to-human contact can present. Pets don’t care if we’re having a bad hair day, what we look like, or if we’re having a bad day. We are able to be ourselves around our pets and they love us anyway.

Comfort Keepers provides in-home care to seniors and the elderly living in Ocala, Gainesville, and The Villages, Florida. We provide superior in-home care to seniors and the elderly throughout Central Florida so they can live enriched independent lifestyles! Call us today at 855-592-0013.

References:

Pomerance, Diane (2011).  http://www.animalcompanionsandtheirpeople.com/.
Pomerance, Diane.  Pets bring healing to baby boomers. Retrieved on 3/10/11from http://ezinearticles.com/?Pets-Bring-Healing-To-Baby-Boomers&id=1018198.
Pomerance, Diane (2011). Best dogs for older people. Retrieved on 3/10/11 from  http://animalcompanionsandtheirpeople.com/wordpress2/.
The Delta Society (2011).  Healthy reasons to have a pet. Retrieved on 3/9/11 from http://www.detlasociety.org/Document.Doc?id=380.
Senior-Site.  The healing power of pets.  Retrieved on 3/8/11 from http://seniors-site.com/petsm/needpets.html.
Fitzgerald, Faith H., MD  (1986).  National Institutes of Health. The therapeutic value of pets. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1306544/.
Hart, Lynette A.  The role of pets in enhancing human well-being:  effects for older people. Retrieved on 3/8/11 from www.deltasociety.org/Document.Doc?id=319.

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