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The Importance of Pets for the Elderly

Importance of pets for the elderly

The Special Bond Between the Elderly and Their Pets

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Pets can play an important role in our lives as we age. As we grow older, knowing that you're loved, or that someone cares about you, isn't necessarily enough, and that need to feel needed-and appreciated for what you do-increases.

There's a strong connection between pets and the elderly. Pets fulfill this need because they depend on their owners for care and attention. In return, the pets offer love and unqualified approval.

Pets and the Elderly

Studies have been documented that petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients and that older people show improved alertness when caring for a pet. Pets often seem to be especially valuable for some people experiencing major life chances, such as illness or the loss of a loved one.

Depressions can often be avoided. Pets also encourage their owner to be more physically active  by playing with them or taking them on a walk. Pets amuse us, make us laugh and improve our overall morale.

Pet owners tend to remain more interested in events in their community and in their surroundings. They are not as lonely as perhaps they once were. They prevent or reduce absent-mindedness or bewilderment by communicating the sense of time and by maintaining a rhythm of the day. "forget oneself and ones problems" and to "live one's free time in a meaningful and interesting way".

Pets need love, companionship and attention no differently than the rest of us. If you know of an older adult that could use a friend, a companion, please consider contacting one of the adoption or fostering agencies below.  

Best Dogs for Seniors

What are the best dogs for seniors you might ask. Do you want a dog that requires little in the way of grooming? Here is a list of some of the best dog breeds for seniors as they are all short haired breeds: Maltese -Chihuahua - Yorkshire Terrier - Pomeranian - Shih Tzu - Pug - Boston Terrier - Beagle - Dachshund.

Older Dogs vs. Puppies

Older dogs are better than puppies for a retired person. They are beyond the crazy puppy stage and many have already been trained to walk on a leash, obey basic commands and eliminate in appropriate places. This is not always the case, so it is important to learn as much about the background of any dog you are considering as you can.

Senior Pet Adoption and Fostering Agencies

Adopt a Senior Pet -  Adopt an older dog or cat. Senior pets still have love to give! This non-profit Senior Pet Adoption service is sponsored by the pet lovers at Purnia and Advantage II.

Paws Companions - Seniors for Seniors - PAWS’ Seniors for Seniors adoption program is all about senior humans rediscovering the joys of having a cat or dog in their lives. The program places senior cats and dogs (typically over 7 years of age) with senior citizens who are 60 years of age or older.

The Silver Paws Program connects mature pet lovers with homeless mature pets. Part of AARF’s overall foster program network, Silver Paws foster parents participate in foster orientations and trainings with other fosters, which can serve as an antidote to the isolation many mature adults face. The program covers the cost of veterinary care, food and supplies for the foster pets, alleviating the financial concerns that are common.

senior lady with cat

Pet Food Assistance Programs

For struggling pet owners, providing pet food can be the difference between being able to keep a cherished pet and being forced to surrender him or her. Below are some agencies that can help:

Some Meals on Wheels programs provides assistance through their AniMeals Pet Food Program offering food and care for the pets of their homebound clients.


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DISCLAIMER: Links to other websites or references to products, services or publications do not imply the endorsement or approval of such websites, products, services or publications by Elder Options of Texas. The determination of the need for senior care services and the choice of a facility is an extremely important decision. Please make your own independent investigation.

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