My family is comprised of dog lovers. My husband and I have a dog, and my adult children have dogs…our grandpups! They are considered members of our family and they play a very important role in our lives as amazing companions and living examples of unconditional love.
At Home Helpers, many of the seniors we assist also have pets. Some have dogs and some have cats, but either way, canine or feline, they have benefited from pet ownership.
A number of years ago, U.S. News and World Report published an article that lists 10 ways pets benefit seniors.
Loneliness can be common among seniors who live alone, and this can lead to physical and mental health conditions. Pets provide companionship and unconditional love 24/7/365. “Dogs mold their schedule and personality to you. They are never unavailable or off-duty. Smaller dogs, in particular, can easily travel with you wherever you go.”
Having a Routine
Pets help us stay on track and keep regular routines because they require regular feeding and care. “The routine of caring for a pet can give structure and purpose to daily life. Maybe you don’t always want to get out of bed, but your pet wants you to, and isn’t that a good thing?”
We all know that regular exercise is necessary at any age, but it’s not always easy to get motivated. “Having a dog can be a great way to make walking a regular part of your permanent daily plans.”
“Older people with pets exhibit less stress than their pet-less counterparts. Maybe it’s those regular walks or the sense that you have a friend to share life’s challenges. Or maybe it’s that tail wagging every day when you wake up.”
Dogs require regular exposure to the outdoors to do their business and exercise. They also need regular vet care and grooming which are opportunities to connect with others. “You need to be involved in social activities. Having a pet is a good way to stay involved.”
Helps in Making New Friends
There are many activities that connect people and their pets with others, like regular walks and charitable events hosted by animal shelters and environmental groups. “It can be hard to meet new people, but pets are a great icebreaker.”
Creates New Interests
“Having a pet can expose you to a lot of new interests and activities. Maybe it’s cleaning up the neighborhood park where you walk your dog. Some hospitals seek pet owners who will volunteer to bring in their pets to spend time with patients.”
Dogs can be a deterrent to thieves and scammers because they usually bark incessantly when they see strangers or hear noises, especially when they hear a knock at the door. This provides a measure of protection for their humans. “Now, maybe your watchdog weighs only 12 pounds soaking wet. But the person on the other side of the door doesn’t know that.”
Taking Care of Something
Pets need humans to care for them because they can’t feed themselves or take themselves to the vet or groomer. “The desire to be useful and of value doesn’t magically disappear when your career ends or your kids grow up and build their own independent lives. It is very satisfying to take care of another living thing.”
Investing in Life
“At the end of the day, having a pet means that you have made a promise to continue being involved in another life. This commitment is one of the most positive decisions you can make as you grow older.”
These are all positive benefits of pet ownership for seniors, but there can be challenges involved, as well. When seniors who own pets experience health issues that make it difficult to get out or maintain regular routines. This does not diminish the love or responsibility senior pet owners have for their furbabies, but it can be a real challenge to keep up.
The compassionate caregivers at Home Helpers® not only step up to help seniors with in-home care and activities of daily living, but they also assist with the pet needs of our clients. If a professional caregiver can help you or a senior loved one with a pet, I offer a FREE Consultation to assess needs and create a customized care plan that will benefit everyone, human, canine, or feline.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have been ranked among the Home Care Pulse Top 100 Leaders in Experience for home care providers in 2023 and to have received the Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2023, the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2023, and the Best of Home Care® Leader in Experience Award 2023.
We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
U.S. News and World Report