Jul 16, 2015 by Christal Miller-Boone
Research has shown that PFT, Pet Facilitated Therapy can boost a person’s emotional outlook on life. Many seniors who may never have had a pet during their lifetime are finding that a dog or cat may increase their emotional, physical and psychological health. Pets make people feel less alone and loved. They often give elderly people a sense of responsibility. Even if the senior adult cannot take full care of their pet, an at home care provider may be able to assist.
Since dogs need daily walks, this is an opportunity for the senior to get out and take a walk. A walk can be a social engagement as well. An at home care provider will encourage taking their dog to the park, meeting up with other friends and making new friends. Also, pets attract children and children often bring smiles to the faces of the elderly. Statistically, it has been noted smiling is also a healthy advantage.
Having a dog might also create a little romance, not just for the dog but the aging senior, as it is never too late for companionship. Walking the dog, sitting in the park and watching the dog play with other dogs can encourage seniors to meet.
Although dogs may be the most social of the pets, cats are great companions and they do not need to go out on walks so no need to worry about the rain, snow, and cold weather. Cats are typically quiet but will cuddle for warmth. Other pets such as birds, hamsters and fish are ideal for elders who are more confined to their homes or even to their beds. Watching these animals in their tank or cage adds life to the room and like it has been said, a breath of fresh air. An at home care provider can advise and assist with choices that work well for the individual and environment.