Pets and the Elderly

A special bond - the joy and companionship a great gift!

Having a problem with buying a present for an elderly relative? Well, how about a pet? For those elderly who live at home and spend a lot of time alone, this may be the perfect gift. Not only would having a pet companion keep them from being  lonely, but they can get some well needed exercise walking and caring for their pet. Instead of the elderly person sitting around wishing they had someone to talk to, they have their pet who in time, will become a well-loved, loyal member of the family, and a very special friend. A pet is good therapy for the elderly. A lot of elderly spend considerable amounts of time sitting with nothing to do. With a pet they will have someone to care for, and a meaningful way to spend their time. While caring for their pet they will feel as though they have an important purpose. There are plenty of activities to keep them busy, such as walking, feeding and bath time and of course lots of play time too!

Pets make great companions for people of all ages, so a pet for a beloved senior would be something everyone could enjoy. There have been great responses with taking a dog or cat to nursing homes where they allow pets. The patients not only perk up but have so much love in them to share with the dog or cat. They look forward to the visits. Of course in most nursing homes the elderly can't keep a pet so why not get them one before they end up in a nursing home.

Elderly are often lonely, but those that have a pet can tell you how happy they are, and how their pet companion takes away their loneliness. Next time you want to choose a special gift for a senior citizen, you might want to think about a pet instead of a box of chocolates or some other gift that may not be very useful. A pet could be just the present that they really want. The elderly are often in need of a special companion to comfort them when they have an ailment, or when they feel a need to be close to someone, but don’t necessarily feel like talking, or perhaps are incapable of communication.

Another option might be to consider one of the many animal assisted therapy programs available.  More and more people are turning to these types of programs to get the help and the resources that they need to help elderly family and friends feel better. With the help of animal assisted therapy, this option is helping many older people feel better about their body and this gets them motivated to do things to help them improve their own physical and emotional health as well. The animal assisted therapy program can do many things for an elderly person. These animals can make them realize that they are not all alone in this world and that people truly do care about them and their feelings. Many people donate their dog's time to the organization of animal assisted therapy. They know that they have a great dog who is special and has a warm, friendly personality. They want others to see and enjoy this special animal, and it's heartwarming to watch the elderly take to these wonderful animals. The smiles and hugs and extra attention the animals get is well worth the effort to bring them to visit. There are some people that take their dogs to the nursing homes to meet with the elderly and get them acquainted with the animals. This is a great opportunity for both involved.

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All of the patients can get involved in this program. Sometimes even family members will share the opportunity to see what the animal assisted therapy program has to offer. They will notice that there are many animals that are committed to making people feel better and helping them heals in ways that are so much more than just physical. Having the emotional support of an animal that is your friend is very important and very convincing to many people at the same time.

Many times the animal assisted therapy programs will travel to visit elderly people bringing many different kinds of animals. Sometimes all a person needs is to brush a dog or a cat to feel important or needed, or just to feel happy at the love the animal returns to them. Having the right motivation to get in the mood to feel and look better is something that many people need in their life especially the elderly. Animals are a great way to make people aware that they can feel better and do more things.

Most senior citizens who have pets treat them like they are their children. Of course, you don't need to be a senior to do that, but homes without children of the human kind truly do have children of the furry kind. In addition to providing companionship, unconditional love and a calming effect, larger pets can also provide a sense of safety and security not only to the seniors they live with, but also to extended members of the family by giving them peace of mind. It’s also been shown that people who have pets tend to live longer. Pet ownership, as we all know, also has its responsibilities. Caring for a pet allows a senior citizen something to focus on and care for beyond themselves, making their days seem fuller and filled with purpose, which helps to promote emotional health too.

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