Older adults may feel lonely for several reasons.
Kids and grandkids may move to new towns, states, or countries making it hard to visit frequently. Friends from work or the community may move to follow their kids and grandkids, which reduces the size of social circles.
If your parents are feeling lonely, it’s important to take steps to ease that loneliness. One thought people have is that a pet is the easiest way to provide an older adult with a devoted companion. Is it the best way?
The Benefits of Pet Ownership
The National Center for Health Research has held several studies about pets. One study put adults through a stressful timed test. Adults with pets had a lower pulse and blood pressure than those without a pet.
Other studies have led to similar results. People found their blood pressure decreased more when a pet was in the room than it did on blood pressure medications. Cat owners have shown signs of having lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure readings while petting a cat.
The studies also found that people with at least one pet handled daily activities of living better. Pet owners were more able to walk up and down the stairs and perform other activities of daily living than people without a pet.
Why is this the case?
The general consensus is that pet owners have to stay mobile for their pets. Dog owners know their dog needs to go for a daily walk or to go outside for bathroom breaks. Cat owners have to get up and feed their cats and clean the litter box. Those require people to get up and walk around.
Pets also give your parents a reason to get up and get things done. A dog or cat isn’t going to sit and wait for hours or days before getting an expected meal. The pet is going to make it known it’s mealtime. Pets need brushing and nail trims. They need to go to the vet, which increases socialization with other people.
Is There a Better Way?
Caregivers offer a better alternative to a pet. Caregivers can help your parents with daily tasks like housekeeping as well as provide companionship. Your parents have help and someone to talk to.
You could also consider pairing caregivers with a family pet. During the caregivers’ visits, they could also remind your parents what care needs the pet has that day. Your parents have reminders and encouragement to complete those tasks while the caregiver is there.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Mullica Hill, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Attentive Care Inc. 1-800-493-5660
Check us out on: Facebook
Check us out on: Twitter