Imagine this. You’re over 60 and you’re home alone with no one to talk to. It’s rather sad and lonely, if one has to think about it. But imagine yourself with a pet to care for, talk to or even go on morning walks with. Now isn’t that something something to smile to every day?
Pets are often found to be both a luxury, and another way to find companionship because they have to be cared for and pose specific needs. However, for the elderly, they prove to be beneficial companions as they can help improve the health of a senior. They can help lower stress and blood pressure as a pet can somehow provide a calming effect to its caretakers, provide companionship and social interaction, help with their exercise as pets always motive their owner to get up and move around. Sometimes, during these walks, owners are able to meet pet owners and meet new people to talk to, thus having something to look forward to every day and help them learn something new as pets sometimes needs to be trained.
Furthermore, according to Dr. Jay P. Granat, a psychotherapist from New Jersey, unlike human, pets like dogs and cats live the present and do not worry much about the future. For the senior patient the very thought of the future is a very sensitive topic sometimes, but animal pets can help them cope with that. This helps lower depression and loneliness that the elderly often experience in their daily lives. In some instances, pets can also help improve with the memory and focus of a senior especially since seniors have more time to interact with a pet and devote time to it than those who are able and working.
But it’s not only the senior who benefits from such a relationship. Pets who often feel alone when they are abandoned or placed in a pound often find a new home to go to and an owner to love and protect. You don’t have to always buy a puppy or find a breeder to give you one to be able to own a pet.
However, finding the perfect pet for your senior could be a challenge as different pets need a different kind of care, much like how seniors need to have that perfect caregiver to care for them. Always look into a few factors before deciding on getting a pet for your senior.
Have you or the senior owned a pet before?
Does the senior have any disabilities? Or would they need an assistance or therapy pet instead of a normal pet?
Is the pet’s age a good match for senior? Does it have a good temperament that matches with your senior’s? Is it healthy enough?
Should there be one pet or two? Do your finances allow you to spend and care for a pet?
And, are they accustomed to change or do they prefer the usual way of things?