Pets can help combat loneliness
Throughout history and all over the world, animals have brought love, laughter and companionship to the people whose lives they share. Today, many doctors, social workers, and other healthcare professionals believe that companion animals are impo...
Throughout history and all over the world, animals have brought love, laughter and companionship to the people whose lives they share.
Today, many doctors, social workers, and other healthcare professionals believe that companion animals are important in helping many people lead healthy, happy lives, especially elderly people. Many researchers are finding that the most serious disease for older persons is not cancer or heart disease - it's loneliness. Love is one of the most important health tonics we have and pets are one of nature's best sources of love.
Dogs and cats help everyone overcome the pain of loneliness by supplying companionship and affection. For anyone who is consistently left alone pets can also supply a sense of security and protection. Pets can make you laugh and divert your mind away from troubles. They also broaden your circle of friends and encourage good health through exercise. Studies show that pets can aid relaxation, lower one's blood pressure, promote health, and prolong life.
Some pet programs at nursing homes are credited with enabling patients to reach out beyond their own pain and isolation and start caring about the world around them once again. A lot of these patients have many losses, personal as well as some physical health problems. It's important for them to have something like a puppy that's so accepting, that doesn't care if you are in a wheelchair or if you can't walk, or if you've had an amputation. The puppy loves everybody and it means a lot to the patients.
Many studies also show that pets are psychologically important to the elderly, as they help stimulate socialization by providing a topic of conversation with others where stories of happy moments with pets are shared.
Although animals make great companions for people of any age, pets can have important benefits for seniors. But before adopting a new companion, seniors need to understand the amount of dedication that goes into caring for an animal. Seniors need to be sure they have the time and the means to care for a pet, both physically and financially.
It's also important to consider the kind of pet to adopt. Animal care professionals often advise seniors to consider adopting an adult dog or cat. An older animal may be a better fit for their lifestyle than a puppy or kitten.
If you are thinking about owning a pet, think carefully about how it will affect your life. Know how you will provide for the animal before you bring it home. Be honest with yourself. Don't take a pet because someone else feels that you should have one. And don't let well-meaning but overprotective friends or relatives convince you that you should not have a pet.
You know better than anyone else what you want and what your abilities are. It's your decision!
This article is made possible with Older Americans Act dollars from Land of the Dancing Area Agency on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line® makes it easy for older adults and their families to find services in their community. Call the Senior LinkAge at (800-333-2433) to speak with an information specialist, or check out our website at MinnesotaHelp.info.