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Companion Animals and the Elderly

koi fish care hand feeding koi fish Companion Animals

Do you have an elderly relative you take care of? Is there an older adult living nearby you’d like to do something for?

It’s becoming very popular for the elderly to have companion pets,
and you might want to consider getting one for someone you know and care about.

There are in fact, a number of health care professionals who are
actually prescribing a companion pet.

The most common is the furry kind, as in a dog or a cat. However, birds and koi fish can also fit the bill.

Why are companion pets so important? Here are some reasons why.

 

Physical Benefits

If the older person you care about is still active, a dog will help to get them out of the house, walking and keeping fit.

When a selection of elderly people were asked about their pets, 71%
of them said they made them feel better even when they were physically under the weather.

It has been shown to improve survival rates in coronary disease and
reduce mortality rates of those who have suffered a heart attack.

It has also been found that owning a companion pet can lower
blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

 

Mental Benefits

Growing old can be an immense strain on a person’s mind as well as their physical health.

As well as feelings of helplessness, being unable to care for
themselves and needing the regular help of a carer, elderly people
also have to deal with loneliness.

Having to wear belted undergarments due to incontinence issues,
for example, can seem very embarrassing to the individual and lead
to a person not wanting to go out and socialize.

Having a companion animal means they’re never alone. Even if the animal is a fish or a bird, they will always keep an elderly person company.

 

The Top Companion Animals

  • Dog – this particular pet can help a person suffering from
    mental and physical challenges.
    They can be playful, are eager to please, charming and adaptable.
  • Cat – cats are very independent creatures but can at the same time
    be very affectionate, playful and loving.
    Female cats are more affectionate than males, but both will enjoy
    spending time sitting on a person’s lap soaking up their affection. A cat’s purr has also been shown to have health benefits.
  • Bird – if a senior is looking for a little more noise, small birds can make great companions.
  • Fish – watching fish swimming around their tank or in a koi pond can be very relaxing. If you want something beautiful to look at as well, consider putting koi carp into an aquarium.

 

Before you rush out and buy a companion pet, think about the mobility of the person you’re buying it for. Are they limited in the activities they can do?

Also consider the age of the animal, because a senior pet will often
make a better companion, and there are plenty looking for homes in local shelters.

Having a companion animal will be very beneficial for a person in their later years.

Pay a visit to your local animal shelter and there will be lots of senior animals wanting a forever home.

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