Pets seem to add an extra something special to our lives. Sometimes it’s difficult to describe all the ways they actually benefit us. So, in case you or your senior were considering a pet, Freedom Home Care offers some pretty good reasons why pet ownership might be right for you.
According to research, pets help increase social interaction, lower blood pressure and reduce stress. They have also been enlisted as therapy animals for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
They Help Ward Off Loneliness
Even if they’re receiving caregiver services from a home care agency you trust, many older loved ones often suffer from loneliness when away from their families. Too often time, space and distance prevent them from being able to connect with them.
They Keep Communication Skills Sharp
Not only do pets offer companionship, but they also provide protection for seniors who live alone. Some older loved ones will even talk to their animals. This could help in terms of communication when friends or others are visiting.
The Right Pet Offers the Right Fit
Caring for a pet requires a lot of time and effort. So, it’s best to find one that fits your senior’s lifestyle. If your loved one has mobility issues or some other physically limiting condition, birds or cats are pets that usually need less care.
If your loved one prefers to adopt a dog, consider buying one that’s not too young or too old. A dog between the ages of one and seven would be ideal for a senior who cares for a dog by themselves. Temperament and personality of both the dog and owner should also be taken into consideration.
They Aid Dementia Patients
Loved ones with Alzheimer’s also benefit from owning a pet. In some instances, dogs have been able to help their owners recall memories from years ago. These seniors can focus on something they care about, taking their minds off of their physical disabilities for a little while.
They Offer a Mental Boost
Experts say that pets can be very advantageous to our mental health as well. With a dog, older loved ones take on the task of caring for someone other than themselves. That might mean scheduling vet appointments, researching dog foods and even coming up with different games and activities for their pet.
They Help Lower Stress Levels
Pets are known to be natural stress relievers. Their quiet, easy going nature helps put people at ease and owning a dog has been shown to lead to lower blood pressure in humans. Playing and cuddling with your pet raises serotonin and dopamine levels – two neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of love, joy, pleasure, memory and impulse.