Some seniors face loneliness and depression, but many can benefit emotionally from adding a pet into their lives. Since each person has different tastes, and every senior has varying levels of physicality and cognitive ability, some pets may not be a good fit for your elderly loved one, making it important to research different options. Here are a few pet ideas for seniors, brought to you by the staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading Palm Harbor home care provider.
Dogs are by far the most popular pets in the United States. The right dog can provide unconditional love and companionship for your loved one. Studies have shown dogs can have a positive impact on senior health and even extend the lifespan of their owners. Walking a dog gives your loved one an opportunity to exercise, and most dogs love routines, which can be especially helpful for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Before recommending a dog for your loved one, you should make sure you do your research to find the right breed based on your loved one’s activity level and living situation.
Cats have the reputation of being aloof, but in reality they can be quite funny, affectionate, and intuitive to their owner’s feelings. They also have the advantage of being quiet and do not require outdoor care. You may want to consider an older cat for your loved one, as young kittens are often more physically active and more likely to scratch or cause him or her to fall. Adult cats are more self-sufficient, which makes them easier for your loved one to take care of. You should also be sure your loved one’s mobility does not prevent him or her from maintaining the litter box.
Birds are beautiful, and some can even be taught to speak and interact with their owner, which can help alleviate loneliness. Most birds only require food, water, and a daily cage cleaning, making them relatively low maintenance. Birds can also be safer for some seniors than dogs or cats since they are confined and cannot present a fall hazard.
Fish may not be very interactive, but they can still make great pets for seniors. They require very little maintenance beyond daily food and the occasional tank cleaning. Watching them swim can have a calming effect on older adults with Alzheimer’s and may even help lower blood pressure.
Allergies or personal preferences may deter your loved one from having a pet, but the loneliness that often leads to depression may still need to be averted. If your loved one is lonely and needs a companion for a few hours a day, he or she may benefit from a part-time caregiver in Palm Harbor. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers not only provide companionship and emotional support, but they are also able to help around the house with a variety of tasks like cooking and cleaning, bathing a grooming, and mobility assistance. For more information, call one of our qualified Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.