Does your elderly parent own a pet, whether it’s a new addition to the family or a lifelong companion? As your elderly loved one navigates the challenges of managing their care needs, you might find yourself wondering if they can still provide proper care for their furry friend. If they’re a dog owner, concerns may arise about their ability to ensure the dog gets the exercise it needs or can bend over to pick up after it during walks. For cat owners, tasks like emptying and refilling the litter box might become too cumbersome or easily forgotten.
While maintaining good pet care is important, instead of considering removing the pet, it’s worth exploring helpful solutions that allow your loved one to continue enjoying the companionship of their pet, even if they’re unable to perform certain pet care tasks. Enlisting the assistance of a senior home care provider can be a practical way to ensure both the pet and your loved one receive the care they need. A senior home care provider can accompany your loved one on walks, handle the dog leash, and manage waste cleanup. They can also assist with tasks like replacing kitty litter or cleaning a fish tank during their visits, benefiting even the tiniest of pets.
But why is it so crucial for seniors to keep their pets?
While the joy of pet ownership is undoubtedly a significant factor, there are six essential health benefits to consider:
Pets Provide a Sense of Purpose
Having a pet to care for and say hello to each day, gives a person a sense of purpose in this world, providing a boost in self-esteem and improving mental health. Pets such as dogs require your loved one to be actively involved in some type of care every day of the year.
Pets Decrease Anxiety
Anxiety can rob a person of the ability to truly relax and enjoy the world around them. Pets can help reduce that anxiety by simply stroking their fur or watching them swim around the castles in their fish bowl.
Pets help with Manual Dexterity
Activities like sprinkling fish food into a tank or securing a leash to a collar require fine motor skills and improve overall manual dexterity.
Pets Lower Blood Pressure
The soothing effects of petting a cat, dog, or watching fish swim can reduce stress and anxiety, leading to lower blood pressure in many individuals.
Pets Reduce Pain
Spending time with a pet can be an effective distraction for those dealing with chronic pain. The joy and entertainment provided by a pet, whether it’s a playful cat or a dog chasing a ball of yarn, can release endorphins that help alleviate pain temporarily.
Pets Provide Connection
For seniors who may feel lonely during the day when family members are at work or school, their pet often becomes their cherished companion, offering comfort and connection.
Before considering removing a pet due to your loved one’s physical limitations in providing care, remember the numerous emotional and health benefits that pets bring into their lives.