For many older people, having a pet to look after is one of the constants in life, knowing that whatever happens this little creature is there providing companionship and love whether it is a dog, cat or budgie. And indeed, having to care for their pet, feeding, grooming, caring for its welfare and exercise needs is often the thing that keeps an older person going.
At some point though this may become harder to manage often because of illness or disability and the worry is that the pet may have to be relinquished. One of the most frequent questions older people ask when they start to have home care services is ‘will I have to give up my pet?’
The good news is that when a person receives care in their own home they won’t have to make that difficult decision to give up their beloved pet and here are the reasons why.
The Benefits of Pet Ownership for Older People
A pet can reduce loneliness and isolation by providing much needed companionship for elderly people who may not see as much as they would like of family and friends. Dogs in particular can be a catalyst for making new friends and many dog owners will attest to the fact that they speak to so many other dog walkers on their daily walks. Many older people feel safer from having a dog in the home who can act as a guard.
Pets provide structure to the daily routine through tending to the animal’s needs and this can remind the elderly owner to take care of their own needs, for instance by taking meals at the same time as their pet and taking a dog for a daily walk provides a much-needed form of exercise.
One of the main benefits of pet ownership comes with improvements in general health and wellbeing. Numerous studies all over the world have shown that simply owning a pet can improve mental health and lift depression by simply having a body in the home to care for. According to the Pet Health Council the act of stroking a dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and regulate heart rate. Even watching fish swimming around a tank can have the same effect.
How a Live-in Carer Can Help
For those elderly people who don’t wish to go into a residential care home live-in care services provide a lifeline by taking care of every aspect of an older person’s daily living needs where necessary and this includes helping to look after a pet.
A live-in carer can take care of any aspect of the pet’s care which can’t be done by the elderly owner and these could include:
- Buying food and pet care products
- Ensuring daily feeds and providing drinking water
- Taking them for walks or to veterinary appointments
- Grooming and bathing if necessary
- Any pet-related cleaning up required
Live-in care providers understand the importance and health benefits pets provide. Family members can be reassured knowing their loved one still has the pet