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Pets and Senior Citizens - A Perfect Pairing

Pets and Senior Citizens - A Perfect Pairing

Pets and senior citizens — a match made in heaven. Whether it’s a furry feline, a playful puppy, or even a floppy-eared bunny, a pet can bring so much joy and comfort to the lives of seniors. But the benefits of pet ownership go far beyond companionship; there are wonderful health benefits and improvements to the all-around well-being of seniors. 

Improved Mental Health

Being a senior can be lonely and isolating at times, but having a pet can provide a source of comfort and support. Just petting or playing with a pet can lower stress and anxiety levels. It also increases mood levels. 

Often, senior citizens are disconnected from loved ones. Their families may have relocated to other cities and states and may have been losing their friends to illness and death. Pets provide unconditional love that can be critical for happiness.

Improved Physical Health

Whether it’s a walk around the block or playing on the floor, having a pet naturally gets us moving around. A pet provides excellent motivation for a senior citizen to move and be active. 

Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and lowers the chances of having chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity. A walk of thirty minutes a day is enough to increase cardiovascular health and improve muscle tone. 

Playing on the floor with your pet, getting down to their level, also helps with stretching and balance. Playing with a pet can also help improve fine motor skills and coordination, which can be particularly beneficial for seniors with arthritis. It’s even possible to have a service dog if you suffer from Parkinson’s disease

What Pet Is Best?

You’ll want to consider your lifestyle and daily routine to see how well a pet will fit into your life. Do you have the strength and energy for a larger or active dog, or would you be better suited to a small companion dog? Or, for lower maintenance, a cat or even a bird. The important thing is that the pet lowers your stress, not adds to it. 

What kind of financial resources do you have? Owning a pet can be expensive. Some pets will require more care than others, so you’ll want to take that into consideration as well. 

Caring for Your Pet

One of the most important decisions you’ll make for your pet is what to feed them. The pet food you choose can make a difference in the health and longevity of your new best friend. This could help with that. It’s a pet food that uses a slow cooking process. It creates a tantalizing taste and crunchy texture and allows the protein to retain more of its natural nutrition than high-heat cooking processes.

Regular visits to the vet can help prevent illnesses or catch them when they’re manageable. Look into pet insurance to help with the costs of that.

Finding the right pet can make a huge difference in the life of a senior, and they can make a huge difference in their pet's life with two-way care, like feeding them healthy food and giving them the right exercise. It really is a match made in heaven. 

Fading Memories is a supportive podcast that focuses on conversations with people who can help with resources and ideas for whichever stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is in. Tune in today.

Fading Memories was created to support family caregivers in a simple, on-demand form. When I was looking for advice on caring for my Mom, I needed this podcast. Since it didn’t exist, I created what I needed!
Jen – pod host

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