Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Pet adoptions have drastically increased with the start of the pandemic as people started to crave companionship while having to shelter in place. Being isolated from loved ones, working remotely, and having limited options for entertainment venues has led many to seek out a pet roommate and study after study have confirmed the benefits of having pets to one’s health and mental well-being.
Working with seniors and the elderly, our team finds that pets can provide entertainment, companionship, a sense of purpose, socialization, and increased physical activity. For elders with good mobility, having a dog, for example, gives one an excellent reason to leave the house and get some fresh air and much-needed exercise. For introverted, depressed, or socially anxious seniors, a pet seems to be a great incentive to come out of their shell a bit more as they tend to provide emotional support and a measurable benefit to an older person’s mental activity. As little as a few minutes spent playing or cuddling with a cat or dog can increase a person’s secretion of serotonin – a key hormone to happiness, mood stabilization, and a general feeling of well-being. Bonding with an animal and enjoying their unconditional love tends to be very soothing. Studies show that the real benefits of a pet’s non-verbal communication can be far-reaching and extend to the elderly’s interactions with their human loved ones and family members, help with memory problems, and keep the brain active.
Adopting a pet is generally encouraged for most older adults, and many shelters have helpful matchmaking services to aid you in finding the right companion. For example, short-haired or hairless pets for those with allergies, cats or smaller dogs who use pee-pads for those with limited mobility, and even personality-based matches. For seniors seeking a higher level of activity, it can be a good idea to adopt a younger pet, but older pets can make excellent companions as they are usually calmer and much easier to care for. Seniors working with quality geriatric care management teams can often have help with caring for their pets, transporting them to and from veterinary appointments, and scheduling litter and food deliveries.
If you or an elderly loved one are in need of help with care, do not hesitate to call our team for a free consultation today!
Written by Layla Adawieh