Why Your Senior Loved One Should Adopt a Pet

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During the senior years, companionship becomes increasingly important, and many older adults find pets to be the perfect solution. In addition to friendship, here are a few more reasons your elderly loved one can benefit from having an animal companion. 

Increased Heart Health

Petting an animal’s soft coat can have several benefits for the cardiovascular system. This is because the relaxing effect of stroking a pet’s fur immediately begins lowering a senior’s blood pressure. Studies have shown petting a dog or cat or simply watching fish swim in a tank leads to lower blood pressure. Stress hormones that negatively affect the heart, such as cortisol, also decrease when heart-boosting hormones increase. 

Although owning a pet provides a variety of benefits, some seniors have serious medical issues that keep them from being able to care for companion animals. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Livingston families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Motivation for Exercise

Some seniors have a difficult time finding the motivation to get up and get moving. However, seniors with pets have more opportunities to be physically active on a day-to-day basis. From taking a dog for daily walks to playing with a cat inside the house, having a pet gives your loved one a good excuse to stay active regularly. Physical activity lowers the risk of obesity and health problems associated with excess weight, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Greater Independence

Your loved one may find a renewed sense of importance due to having a pet that relies on him or her. If your loved one wants to have greater independence, feeding, grooming, and playing with a pet are all opportunities to do so. Your loved one’s dedication to the pet can also provide motivation to heal faster after an illness or injury that temporarily affects his or her abilities. 

Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a trusted provider of respite care Livingston seniors can depend on.

Sharper Cognitive Skills

Many seniors experience cognitive decline as they age, but having a pet around can slow this process. Managing the many tasks that are part of having a pet, such as grooming, feeding, walking, and training, can give your loved one many ways to keep his or her mind sharp.

Enhanced Emotional Health

It’s important to laugh every day to keep depression at bay, and there’s nothing funnier than a pet’s antics. Whether your loved one likes watching a cat chase a laser light or enjoys seeing a hamster run on a wheel, these daily events can serve as delightful entertainment. Seniors who have pets are also often  more social, and your loved one can benefit from making friends with other aging adults who share the same love for their own animal companions. 

Owning a pet is just one of the many ways seniors can enjoy socialization and prevent isolation. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. You can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. If your loved one needs professional care, Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us today.