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Therapeutic Benefits Of Pet Ownership

Pet TherapyPet owners know the valuable bond they can form with their animal. Having a pet companion can be a wonderful therapeutic experience for elderly people.Pets, especially dogs are incredibly receptive of their owner’s feelings and resonate with them. They get excited when they sense you are excited. If you are feeling melancholic, they feel doleful as well. They always make for an understanding companion, which is just what most seniors need. Seniors can end up becoming an isolated part of the society and out of touch from life they once used to revel in each day. There are plenty social and psychological benefits that pets can offer seniors.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why pet companionship can be therapeutic for elderly people.

1.    A pet can elevate your mood

The simple act of stroking a dog is calming and comforting for both the owner as well as the dog. Studies have suggested that when you stroke your dog and caress their soft, furry coat, the hormone oxytocin is released which has been known to relieve anxiety. Aside from stroking the dog, many different aspects of the human – dog interaction can stimulate the release of oxytocin in the dog as well as the human. Have you ever suddenly felt good playing with a friend’s dog? There is a biochemical process backing these positive emotions.

2.    Pets can help seniors stay active

Staying active is a challenging aspect of elderly care. With reduced energy and weakened muscles, elderly people are more likely to fall into a sedimentary lifestyle, especially if they have medical conditions such as arthritis. Having a dog gives seniors a reason to move. Playing with a pet or better yet walking a dog is a great source of physical exercise for seniors. Even simply petting a dog can work out the arms and hands of seniors with arthritis.

3.    Pets can help seniors give and receive love

Seniors can often feel isolated or neglected. The lack of affection they receive contributes to this. When these elderly individuals have a pet to take care of, they can give and receive the love they need. It’s a nurturing experience for seniors and they always recognize the affection and care they receive from their pet. They have someone to focus their emotional energy on.

4.    Pets can provide seniors with a sense of security and comfort

Elderly people significantly lack social interaction as compared to younger people. Pets can fill in this social gap by being a source of comfort for them. Seniors communicate with their pets and speak to them. They form a nurturing bond with them. Most senior dog owners claim that their dog is of great help when they are feeling down. Additionally, elderly people are vulnerable for crimes like fraud scams and burglary. A dog can safeguard seniors from such threats significantly. They are very good at sensing ill intentions of visitors and being vocal about it. They can also serve as excellent guards who can deter any home invaders during the dark of night.

Sources*

https://barkpost.com/dogs-good-for-elderly/

http://www.sweettree.co.uk/blog/12-good-reasons-animals-can-benefit-elderly-living-dementia/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/benefits-of-animal-companionship-for-the-elderly/

 

As part of services we assist our clients with pet care including walking and feeding. If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Irvine, CA or the surrounding Orange County areas, please call us at 949-535-2211.  We provide senior care services in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and surrounding areas of Orange County California.  Contact us today to learn more.

 

Dan Segal

Dan and Yvonne Segal are the owners and operators of Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Dan is a 25 year veteran of the Healthcare Industry and Yvonne is an instructional aide at Meadow Park Elementary School in Irvine.

Both Dan and Yvonne had personal experiences with the needs and challenges of caring for aging parents. They saw the need for a high quality professionally run yet personalized service to deliver the type of experience that they had a hard time finding.