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What Are the Benefits of Having a Pet in the Golden Years?

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Pets are lovable family members that offer companionship for seniors. Many seniors live alone, and having a pet around can make the house feel less lonely. In addition to having a quick source of cuddles, your aging loved one can enjoy these benefits of caring for a furry friend.

Develop a Routine

Pet care involves having to do certain things at the same time each day. Seniors are more likely to wake up at a normal hour when they know their pet is hungry. Your parent can also tie important parts of his or her daily routine to things he or she does for the pet. For instance, taking medication at the same time as the pet’s evening feeding can help your loved one remember to do both. Seniors do need to make plans for times when they’re unable to manage their pet’s care. For instance, a caregiver can feed the dog or cat until your loved one recovers from an illness.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving 24-hour care. Bethlehem, PA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Get Motivated to Go Outside

Seniors may start isolating themselves if they decide it takes too much effort to go outside. Dogs are excellent companions that require at least some degree of outdoor physical activity to keep them healthy and well-behaved. Whether your loved one walks the dog around the block or ventures out to the park, he or she can also benefit from exposure to the sunshine, which raises vitamin D levels.

Connect with Other Adults

A companion pet serves as an instant conversation starter. When your loved one takes the pet out in public, other people are bound to talk to your loved one. People with similar pets will feel an instant sense of connection, and your loved one can enjoy talking about the pet’s silly antics and care routine. Even indoors, your loved one may find it easier to come up with things to talk about with a visitor when a pet is available to break the ice.

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 home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s 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.

Lower Stress Levels

Caring for an animal has been shown to lower stress levels in older adults. Petting their favorite dogs or cats helps seniors keep their blood pressure low. They may also find playing with their furry friends keeps their mind off upsetting news. Laughing and smiling as they engage with their pets further sends signals to the brain that they can relax.

Feel More Secure at Home

Living alone can leave seniors feeling vulnerable, and there are many instances when pets have saved seniors’ lives. For example, your loved one’s companion pet may notice the smell of smoke and alert your loved one to wake up. Dogs are well-known for barking at intruders. Although seniors shouldn’t rely solely on their pets letting them know about dangers in the home, it’s reassuring for them to know their pets might serve as additional safeguards that work along with smoke detectors and other alarm systems. 

Although owning a pet provides a variety of benefits, some seniors have serious medical issues that prohibit them from being able to care for companion animals. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elder care. Bethlehem Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 484-350-3874 to learn more about our customized care plans.