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Tag: pets for seniors

5 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

There’s nothing better than coming home to a dubiously excited dog or cat vying for attention. While it may feel great to be a source of endless happiness for your pet, your own health and well-being can be greatly improved. Studies show there are physical, emotional, and mental benefits of owning a pet for people of all ages. From encouraging daily exercise to unconditional companionship, the perks of having a furry best friend are numerous and undeniable. The following are 5 health benefits of owning a pet.

Pets are Heart Healthy

Did you know the simple act of petting a dog or cat can be hugely beneficial to your cardiovascular health? Individuals with pets tend to have a lower blood pressure than non-pet owners, which is imperative in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Loneliness and Depression Antidotes

The companionship of a pet can help combat depression and loneliness for pet owners who may find themselves spending a lot of time alone. Before choosing a new friend, however, consider the pet’s age and natural demeanor. The relaxed temperament of many older pets may align well with senior energy levels and lifestyle, whereas a puppy or any energetic pet may be more suitable for younger, more active owners.

Simply petting an animal can reduce stress and increase feelings of companionship because it releases the pleasure chemical dopamine in the brain. Also, walking a dog is a great ice-breaker when it comes to talking to people on the street or at the dog park.

Animals Live in the Moment

Have you ever noticed the Zen-like mentality of animals to live for right now and at the moment? That “here and now” mentality can be particularly helpful for seniors. Seizing the day with your furry friend at your side can help you appreciate every precious moment of your life.

Increased Independence

Pets can also help improve mobility and independence for seniors by helping with daily tasks. For example, pets can alert seniors with hearing loss when there’s a knock at the door or the phone rings. Also, a daily outdoor walk with a pet is a healthy low-stress form of exercise.

Furry Pain Relievers

Anxiety intensifies pain and vice versa. By reducing anxiety levels, pets can help alleviate pain for seniors who may experience chronic conditions such as arthritis or sciatica. Recent studies have shown that there’s a decreased need for pain medication following surgery when a pet is present in the home.


There are few things more rewarding than owning a pet. Not only do they provide unconditional love and companionship, but having a furry best friend can be attributed to a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. For more information, contact the professionals at Home Instead Senior Care.

Picking a Pet for Your Elderly Loved One

Loneliness is common for those who are growing old. During this time, friends and other loved ones are passing away and daily activities are getting harder to partake in. While these situations can’t always be controlled, there is one sure way to provide your elderly loved one with some enjoyment – a pet! Animals are a great source of companionship and stress relief, making them the perfect investment. Follow along with our blog to learn how to pick the perfect pet!

Consider Disability
As you age, certain physical limitations can start to arise. It is important to keep in mind these disabilities when it comes time to select the pet. A dog is a friendly and lively companion, however, most dogs are very active. If your loved one has mobility struggles, a dog may not be the right fit. An animal like a cat or a bird may be a better and safer option!
Consider Pet Age
Young pets, much like children, require near-constant care. On top of that, a puppy or kitten is going to need intense training in order to learn how to function properly within a home. While care and training may not be an issue for some, another thing to keep in mind is lifespan. The last thing anyone wants is for a pet to become abandoned should their owner pass on before them. When picking a pet for a senior it is smart to keep in mind the age and lifespan of each animal.
Consider Temperament
Just like humans, animals all have different personalities and characteristics. The temperament of each pet is something to keep in mind before purchasing for a senior. Many character traits run in specific breeds, especially in the case of dogs. It is important for you to do some research before impulsively making a decision. Talk with your loved one and see what characteristics they may prefer and which ones they will want to avoid.
Pet Health
If age is an issue, adopting a pet that is a bit older is common. If this is the case, it is important to get the animal you adopted checked out by a vet before introducing them to your home. There are a variety of illnesses and diseases an unhealthy pet can have that will compromise the health of a senior. Ensuring that your new furry friend is healthy is a great way to keep your loved one safe.
If you’ve ever owned a pet before, you know how expensive they can be. Between food, toys, and vet visits having the funds to own an animal is important. Before jumping out and making the big purchase of a pet for your loved one, check into their financial situation. It would be a terrible situation to find yourself in should a pet prove to be too expensive. Checking out the financial situation will help you decide what pet is a good option.

Back-Up Plans
While it may not be something you want to think about, backup plans are necessary when owning an animal. If something should ever happen to your loved one, it is important to think about what will happen to their pet. Sorting who will step in to help care for them while your loved one is in the hospital is a good start. Other plans include who will take on full care of the animal if your loved one passes on or ends up unable to care for them any longer.
Helping your elderly loved one find companionship during lonely times is one of the best things you can do for them! While it may seem stressful to try and figure out which animal will be best, we are here to help. For more information regarding the care of your elderly loved ones, head on over to our website!

A home in the heart: Why pets are great for seniors

Often, a pet is the only reason an older adult feels he or she has to get up in the morning. – From “The Power of Pet Therapy” (Linda Feagler, Senior Living, Avenues, April 1995)

For a senior, a pet can be an anchor in a world that very often feels alienatingFor a senior, a pet can be an anchor in a world that very often feels alienating. With uncertain days, struggles, and lack of social contact, each day can become difficult. A pet can turn dark periods into brighter times. Even the frustrations a pet can bring has the ability to turn a day into a happy one when silly antics are just too funny to get mad at.

Animals and Health

 Animals are unconditionally loving. Dogs have been long called ‘man’s best friend’. Even cats, who have been long thought to be aloof and moody, were found in a study by Oregon State University to prefer human companionship over the allure of things they find delightful; even food! Animals lower blood pressure, ease stress, and provide support when a senior needs it the most. Pet owners have also been shown to have higher survival rates than those without pets by giving an older adult purpose and friendship.

But before you go off to buy a pet for your aging family member, there are many things to consider. Choosing the right pet is paramount. Animals have different temperaments — dogs differ from cats, cats from birds, and so on.


Dogs are phenomenal companions. They are loyal friends that improve activity and socialization for their human family members. But not every dog has a personality that fits an elderly person’s situation or countenance. Certain breeds are more active than others and require more walks, attention, and room. It is good to keep in mind the size and type of dog when looking for the right furry friend for your loved one.

Older dogs of calmer breeds can age with their senior friend and tend to be a bit more relaxed. They are often already trained and are easier for an older person to handle and take care of. On top of that, many elderly dogs in the shelters need a home and a loving heart. However, if your family member is still active, taking the dog for walks can be enjoyable. It can make a senior feel good to know they saved a life and gained a valuable companion. If you need further assistance on choosing a pet with a complimentary temperament, animal shelters can help you and your loved one find the right pet.


Cats are low maintenance pets that work well for seniors Cats are low maintenance pets that work well for an adult who maybe cannot walk a dog every day, but could still use the companionship of an often independent furry friend. Cats tend to take care of themselves, but trips to the vet, groomer, and store can bring an elderly adult much needed socialization, without the burden of having to be overly mobile.

There is a reason why the internet is filled with cat pictures and videos. Cats do what cats do – and often make us laugh. These furry superstars love attention and adoration, and individuality is their forte. Keep in mind though, if your family opts for young kittens, they can be a handful. An older cat is usually much calmer and more likely to provide gentle companionship for your loved one. If you are getting your cat at the shelter, talk to them to see which cats have the proper temperament for your situation.


birds work exceptionally well with the elderlyAnother low maintenance pet that is a joy to watch and listen to is a bird. Certain birds work exceptionally well with the elderly. The friendly Parakeet is one of these such birds. Part of the parrot species, these active and intelligent birds enjoy human interaction. They do require some out-of-cage time, so they do well with owners who are able to get around fairly easily. Parakeets can be taught words and will mimic things they hear from their human friend. Birds can bring serenity with a song, entertainment with their enjoyable tricks, and can keep an elderly person’s mind active by just being themselves.

Things to consider

Other things to keep in mind are the costs of grooming, the vet, food, and the ability your loved one has to go to and from these places. Another thing to consider are the community guidelines if your family member lives in an assisted living environment. Also, if the senior for any reason loses the ability to care for their pet, they will have to find possible rehoming. If this is the case, veterinarians can usually help offer options for rehoming. Neighbors looking for a pet can also be an excellent choice, as this allows the senior to keep in contact with their beloved animal if family members can’t take it.

Getting a pet for a senior can be a life saver for both the animal and the human companion. If your loved one is suffering from loneliness, a pet may just bring a smile back to their face.