Power of Pets for Senior Adults

By Pete Lane, 9:21 pm on

Did you know that pets can enhance the quality of life for senior adults? The cuddly creatures aren’t just fun to have around, owning an animal like a dog or cat can provide companionship and a sense of purpose for older adults who may be facing issues such as depression or loneliness. In fact, studies show that seniors who own pets are typically healthier, happier and have enhanced mood!

As a provider of home health care in Centennial, we talk to many families who have elderly loved ones that live alone and spend extended periods of time indoors. Overtime, this type of lifestyle can be devastating on a senior’s health and wellness. Buying or adopting a pet for your aging loved one can reintroduce structure and focus in their lives, creating a newfound purpose and responsibility. For example, owning a dog may encourage a senior to go for daily walks. A cat on the other hand is more of a low maintenance animal, but one that still provides companionship without as much responsibility. Other tasks such as feeding and grooming are daily responsibilities that help keep seniors alert and engaged.

Naturally, the appropriate pet must be chosen based on the personality and condition of the senior adult. A large dog or a puppy would not be a good choice for a senior because of the extensive need to train or handle the animal. Many senior adults turn to adoption, where older animals are more tame in nature and are often longing for companionship just as much as their prospective owner. Other options ideal for seniors include smaller dogs that tend to be more friendly and calm such as a Corgi or Maltese.

For seniors who have difficulty walking or with mobility, a pet like a cat or a bird would be a pleasant roommate. Keep in mind your aging loved one will probably need assistance caring after an animal, whether help comes from family members or an at-home health care companion in Centennial.

Studies show that the presence of a pet can have a powerfully positive impact on owners’ health and well-being. While this is true for people of all ages, it can be especially important for seniors as social isolation can be a devastating issue for people who are retired and who don’t have family members living nearby. While animals cannot replace human contact, they can help to fill in the gaps.

Choosing a pet for a senior is a decision that must be made with care. Call 303.957.3100 to speak with a Care Manager about how an in-home caregiver from Centennial Home Care Assistance can offer the assistance needed to help your aging loved one care for a pet at home.