Caring for pets can be an effective way for seniors to manage physical and mental issues that might arise during the golden years. Although spending time with pets is often viewed as a leisurely activity, it offers several other benefits. Once you understand the ways pets can help seniors heal, you may want to find the perfect animal companion for your aging loved one.
Have a Reason for Getting Better
Seniors can sometimes lose the motivation for living a healthy lifestyle when they live alone. This is because isolation can cloud their minds and make them feel as though no one cares if they are feeling well. Having a pet in the house gives seniors the same sense of responsibility people feel when they have kids. Since they know the pet relies on them for survival, they will do what it takes to maintain their own health.
Helping seniors make healthier lifestyle choices can be overwhelming for some family caregivers. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Oakville home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Mend Emotional Wounds
Pets often have unique ways of drawing a senior’s mind away from emotional pain. Whether your loved one is healing from the loss of a spouse or trying to manage the changes that accompany retirement, a pet can provide a sense of comfort and reassurance. Some pets offer unconditional love, and your loved one may feel safer sharing thoughts with a favorite animal that will not judge him or her. Some doctors recommend pets as therapy animals for seniors who are experiencing loneliness or depression.
Enhance Physical Therapy
During recovery from an illness or injury, seniors are often prescribed exercise plans to help them regain their strength. However, these exercise sessions can sometimes be grueling, and it is common for seniors to try to skip out on their therapy when they are feeling down. Pets add a sense of fun to exercise sessions since they are happy to go along for walks or sit by a senior’s side while he or she does stretching exercises. Playing with a pet outside, tossing a Frisbee, and grooming the animal can enhance joint and muscle flexibility.
Professional caregivers can assist seniors with exercise, therapy, and other daily activities. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Oakville seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Lower Stress Hormone Levels
Being in pain or feeling anxious can interfere with the healing process, and finding ways to relax can be difficult for some seniors. Stroking a pet’s soft fur can lower a senior’s stress hormone levels and reduce blood pressure. The release of oxytocin and endorphins also helps seniors recover from injuries and illnesses.
Pet therapy is just one way seniors can receive the companionship and emotional support they need. Dedicated professional caregivers can also help seniors enjoy a higher quality of life. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Oakville Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. For a free in-home consultation, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (519) 590-2792.