Mary was depressed. Since her lung cancer had caused her breathing to become more labored and sapped her energy, she had been feeling lonely and dejected. Moving into the Assisted Living Home had made things even worse. Now she felt as though she had lost her independence. She couldn’t imagine anything making her smile again.
Then she saw Sophie. She was sweet. She was friendly. She did not want to leave Mary’s side. She was an 8-pound, fluffy ball of fur. This little, long-haired Chihuahua had made Mary’s day. Sophie sat on her lap the entire afternoon, trying to lick her ear lobes and con her into a belly rub. From that day on, Mary always talked about Sophie and looked forward to the afternoons she got to spend with her.
Having contact with animals can improve a seniors health, physically and mentally.
1. Pets improve a seniors mood by helping to battle feelings of loneliness and depression.
2. Animals give unconditional love. They are always happy to see you and are blind to age, disability, etc.
3. Pets can decrease stress and anxiety by caring for them on a daily basis.
4. Pets increase feelings of independence for seniors. Some dogs are given special training to help people with daily tasks, such as opening doors, getting the mail and even signaling impending health complications.
5. Animal interactions can help maintain a healthy weight, improve immunity, reduce blood pressure and cut the risk for heart attack and stroke.
6. Animals are known to have a calming effect on those around them.
7. Dog owners are more likely to stay active, having to take their pets for daily walks.
8. Pets, especially dogs, can provide a sense of protection and safety for a senior.
9. Pets improve feelings of self-worth and confidence.
10. Pets provide companionship and social interactions.
Whether it’s adopting a pet from a shelter, or finding a local organization that offers pet therapy, interaction with animals can greatly improve the over-all well-being of those we care about.
If your loved one is interested in adopting a pet, feel free to contact the Pets for the Elderly Foundation. This is a non-profit organization that pays part of the adoption fee when a senior citizen (age 60 and older) adopts a companion pet from one of their 52 participating shelters.
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.
- Houston Area Humane Society is Great Resource for Finding Pets for Seniors (houston.myhomecareblog.com)
- Salute to Senior Services (houston.myhomecareblog.com)
- Animal Therapy for Elders with Memory Loss (centralcoastseniorliving.com)