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Help Seniors Adopt Pets For Holistic Health And Autonomy

There has been much research done surrounding the benefits of pet ownership and this extends to studies involving the senior population. Many social workers and therapists claim that there are some therapeutic benefits to caring for pets, and that seniors can increase their quality of life by simply adopting a pet. Caregivers, family members, and friends should support and assist seniors in caring for their pets, as the benefits of a senior pet care program can contribute to improved health, increased happiness, and greater self-esteem.

Some of the advantages of assisting seniors acquire and care for pets include:

Increased social engagement.

Interacting with pets provides some level of social engagement that many seniors or shut-ins may not experience ordinarily. There is a sense of unconditional love that comes from caring for a pet, which could be very gratifying to someone who may be alone, or that may have recently suffered the loss of a loved one.

Compassion and companionship.

Domestic pets, such as dogs, cats, and birds, can trigger the caring, nurturing instincts; caring for a pet can instill compassion in most individuals. Pets are also a predictable and consistent companion, which is especially important for those seniors that live alone.

A healthy outlet.

Taking care of a pet is a healthy leisure activity and can provide a sense of routine. Pets need to be fed, bathed, etc. Keeping up with the daily tasks and chores can help fill a void and provide something for the individual to do that they enjoy.

Positive coping strategies.

Everyone has coping strategies that they pull out in times of stress or duress. Pets can be an effective and healthy coping strategy that has a calming effect on many individuals. When someone, including a senior, has positive coping strategies in place, they may not resort to detrimental means of coping with life’s stressors.

Sense of purpose.

When you care for a pet, there are some responsibilities and chores that come along with it. This can provide a sense of purpose, a feeling of being needed, that is invaluable for many aging individuals. Taking care of someone or something else can also lead to taking better care of one’s own self.

If you are an animal lover, then you probably already know the many advantages and rewards of pet ownership. This may be particularly true among the senior population; there are many aspects of caring for a pet that can improve and enhance the life of a senior. Supporting, assisting, and facilitating pet ownership among the aging population makes sense and is well-worth the effort.