Health Benefits of Pet Adoption for Older Adults

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For many seniors, nothing means more than spending time with a treasured furry friend. Studies have shown having a pet as a companion can have a significant impact on a senior’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Here are a few of these benefits.

Exercise

Blood pressure can be difficult to control in the senior years, but owning a pet is one way to address this problem. Dogs can motivate those who are mobile to exercise by walking together or playing with toys. This physical activity can lower cholesterol and pulse rates, leading to a healthier heart. Even seniors with limited mobility can benefit from petting an animal or engaging in other light activities. In-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Stress Relief

Having a pet can reduce the risk of stress and depression, which often result from loneliness. Many aging adults live alone and need more extensive companionship. Petting a cat or dog raises serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which produces a calmer feeling for both the senior and the pet. This can help a senior who is undergoing treatment for an illness or receiving care after surgery heal faster. For families living in Waterloo, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Sense of Purpose

After retirement, some seniors feel they aren’t needed anymore. Their children have grown up and have families of their own, and they may not live nearby, leaving the senior feeling empty. Having a pet can relieve those feelings because the senior is responsible for taking care of this new member of the family. Feelings of depression and disinterest can decrease when a senior feels he or she has a purpose.

Social Interaction

A healthier, happier person is more willing to get out and be part of the community. Having a pet is a great way to break the ice and start conversations with neighbors and strangers alike. Making and maintaining friendships is as important for seniors as it is for younger people, and the presence of a pet can build the confidence of a senior who hasn’t been socially active for a while. 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. Waterloo families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your parent, give us a call at 319-260-2222 today.

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