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Can Adopting a Pet Boost Your Senior Loved One’s Health?

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on April 25, 2016

When people reach their golden years, it is vital to stay active and healthy. Though there are many paths your senior loved one can take to achieve this, adopting a pet can be a fun way to promote his or her overall health. Chandler 24-hour care experts discuss a few of these potential benefits.

Pets Boost Emotional Health

Adopting a pet is often the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the senior and the animal. Deciding to get a pet can be a wonderful experience for seniors because it may encourage them to do research and visit different shelters, getting their minds and bodies moving. Interacting with a pet can promote social interaction and help decrease stress as well. Studies have shown having a pet may also help treat depression, a feeling many seniors experience. According to AgingCare.com, having a pet helps seniors focus less on physical limitations and more on the positive aspects of life.

Pets Aid in Physical Health

Studies have shown pet ownership can boost a senior’s physical health. In a 1988 study, researchers found petting an animal can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Seniors are often at risk for high blood pressure, but owning a pet may reduce their risk of complications or hospitalization. The American Heart Institute has praised pet ownership for seniors, noting it may also reduce instances of heart attacks and strokes.

How Service Animals Can Help

Additionally, seniors with certain disabilities or illnesses may benefit from having a therapy animal. This is a specially trained animal (usually a dog) that knows how to assist its owner with different tasks. A service animal may even be able to sense low blood sugar or an oncoming seizure. These animals bring life-saving tools with them as they become their owners’ friends and guides.

Though Home Care Assistance does not provide service animals, we encourage their use to help boost elderly health, and the same goes for the companionship of untrained pets. However, our caregivers can assist with many important tasks that an animal cannot, such as cooking, bathing, exercise, and transportation, and we also offer specialized care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. For more information on in-home care Chandler seniors can rely on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 480.448.6215 today.