Benefits of Pets for Seniors
It’s widely known that pets can positively affect our health. But did you know that pet guardians over age 65 make 30 percent fewer doctor visits than those without pets?
Here are some health benefits to caring for a pet, particularly for seniors:
- People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
- Pet guardians have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
- Alzheimer’s patients suffer less stress and have fewer anxious outbursts if there is a pet in the home.
- Pet guardians are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- Pets can boost overall wellbeing by helping us find meaning and joy in life. As we age, we may lose things that previously occupied our time and gave our life purpose, such as a family or career. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure, help boost morale and optimism, and provide a sense of self-worth.
- Source: http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm
To read more about the health benefits of pet guardianship, including those specific to seniors and Alzheimer’s patients, please click here.
Cat Care Tips for Senior Adopters
Here are some cat care tips for senior adopters:
- Cats require litter boxes that need regular cleaning. Since cats are good jumpers, consider putting the litter box on an elevated table that won’t require you to bend or lift. For less active kitties, cat stairs can be placed near the table.
- If your pet needs medication, keep it separate from your own. Use colored tape or stickers to identify pet prescriptions, making sure it’s on the bottle, not the cap (it’s easy to put the cap back on the wrong bottle).
- Poor eyesight or balance can cause people to trip over pets. A brightly colored collar with a bell attached will increase awareness of a pet’s whereabouts.
- Arthritic hands can make grooming difficult, but brushes and combs with extra large handles can help. A short-haired kitty can reduce grooming needs as well.
- Make sure your new pet is well matched to your abilities and your environment.
- Source: http://www.purrfectpals.org/About/SeniorsProgram.asp
Seniors and Seniors: A Purrfect Match
Older cats can make wonderful additions to any family. We especially recommend them for our senior adopters.
- Older cats are laid-back and trained.
- While many older cats are still curious and entertaining, they don’t require tons of active playtime, often preferring to curl up in their guardian’s lap for a purr-filled nap. This may be a special advantage for those with limited mobility.
- Cats enjoy the warm room temperatures that seniors often prefer.
Resources for Senior Pet Guardians
There are two services that provide support specifically for senior pet guardians in the New York City area:
- Based out of Queens, Sunnyside Community Services offers the Pet Pals program in conjunction with its other life-enhancing programs, including a center for active adults that offers hot meals, home care services, and respite resources for family caregivers. The Pet Pals program matches housebound seniors with volunteers that provide a full range of pet care services, such as buying pet food, walking your pet, and grooming.
Be sure to check out Silver Whiskers to see our wonderful senior kitties available for adoption right now!