4 Ways Seniors Can Benefit from Having Dogs or Cats

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Owning and caring for a pet can be therapeutic in many ways, and many of these benefits may be especially helpful for an elderly person’s needs. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder home care Caledon families trust, wants to share 4 healthy advantages your senior loved one can gain from having a cat or dog in his or her life.

1. Companionship 

Both cats and dogs can provide companionship for your loved one. Many seniors feel lonely due to the loss of a spouse or because family and friends have moved away, and this loneliness can lead to isolation and depression. Owning a cat or dog can give your loved one a companion to care for, talk to, and spend time with, which can decrease these feelings.

2. Exercise

Having a dog means your loved one will need to go on walks once or twice a day. Walking is a great exercise for seniors because it strengthens the heart, and it is still suitable for those who have problems with their knees. A study done by Michigan State University found dog owners were 54 percent more likely to get the daily-recommended amount of exercise they need. Exercise can benefit your loved one’s skeletal system, increase his or her muscular strength, and decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke.

3. Lower Blood Pressure

Owning a cat can help boost your loved one’s heart health by decreasing his or her blood pressure. A study done by researchers at the State University of New York looked at the effects petting a cat had on busy stockbrokers. Participants in the study all had high blood pressure and were asked to care for a cat for 6 months. During that time, the blood pressure of each participant decreased, falling into the normal range. High blood pressure can damage your loved one’s eyes and kidneys and increase his or her risk of heart disease and stroke. Researchers believe the act of petting a cat helps people slow down and decreases their stress, which in turn lowers blood pressure levels.

4. Cognitive Stimulation

Both dogs and cats can help keep your loved one’s brain active, which can prevent dementia. Feeding, bathing, brushing, walking, and playing with a pet stimulates and exercises the brain. Additionally, many pet owners read and study on the best ways to care for their pet. This extra reading can also help stimulate your loved one’s mind.

Though many studies have proven dogs and cats can be invaluable to seniors in many ways, there are certain tasks only another human can help with. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with exercise and provide mental and social stimulation, but they can also help with a wide variety of important daily tasks like cooking and cleaning. Our expertise doesn’t end there. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s care Caledon seniors can rely on. For more information on how our in-home care services can promote your loved one’s quality of life, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 905-951-8885 and request a no-obligation consultation.