Page 10 - Senior Times South Central Michigan February 2021 - 28-02
P. 10

Page 10 Senior Times - February 2021
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
  For several reasons, a companion pet is ideal for providing seniors with the assistance and companionship they need for daily living. Caring for animals gives mature adults and loved ones something purposeful to do every day. As they age, many mature adults feel like their relevance and usability is quickly fading, due to having little to do and no one to care for any longer. A companion dog can change this. Additionally, scientific research suggests that companion animals can significantly improve the health of seniors in the long run.
they are not critical. And for someone with dementia, those qualities make them a good companion. Their friendly and non-threatening demeanor can help a dementia patient be more interactive, when sometimes they are not able to do so in social settings with other adults. Pets can also help with reducing behavior problems.
companion so be sure to choose wisely.
Not surprisingly, as our loved ones age there
Seniors with companion animals tend to experience better health than those without, and tend to enjoy:
• Having lower blood pressure, a lowered risk
Pets also help those with dementia stay calm and feel relaxed. The actual act of pet- ting or stroking an animal can bring peace and comfort. There are also records of dogs that have visited care homes and taken naps with residents, helping them to sleep. Furthermore, animal visits encourage exercise and can cause bursts of energy. People with dementia tend to feel more inclined to get up and move about when it means spending time with their furry friends. Spending short periods of time playing with pets or getting outside and going on walks can go a long way.
Traveling with Your Pet – It has become not only more acceptable but also much easier to travel and bring your pet companion along. Travel options are available as are lodging options. Be sure to ask about requirements and additional costs to bring yours along. Some locations even offer special services for
your pets while you enjoy area activities and attractions.
of experiencing depression, and a shorter post-surgery healing time, just from regularly holding a companion animal.
My dog is one of my favorite companions. In fact, in my household, our pets are actually more like family members. And we are not alone. Our pets have all sorts of special treats, outfits, and even snuggle in at bedtime. It is fun to share the silly and lovely things our pets do with family and friends and what’s more... pictures, pictures, pictures. They bring such joy to our lives that I can say that the times we’ve had without pets in our home are never quite as delightful.
• Having lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Interestingly enough pets have had an impact on nutrition as well. A 2002 study completed by researchers at Purdue University found that nutritional intake increased during their eight-week study. Patients gained an aver- age of 1.65 pounds and required less nutritional supplements, thus reducing overall costs of care. In this study, the pets included were fish.
• A stronger heart, slower bone tissue loss, and improved blood circulation, from petting, grooming, and dog walking.
• Being less likely to suffer from loneliness as pets can provide an opportunity for senior pet owners to receive and give love. Pets can also increase self-esteem and decrease negativity.
Publisher’s question: Is your pet keeping you from right-sizing your living arrangements to a retirement village, an independent living or senior apartment, or an assisted living facili- ty? Did you know that there are some facilities that welcome you as well as your pet? Do not let that keep you from changing your living arrangements if that would be beneficial for you. Send me a note at Senior Times or send
an email at or leave me a message at the office at (269) 979-1479 ext. 302.
• Surviving longer after having had a heart attack.
Tips For Choosing A Suitable Companion Care Animal – The decision to get a com- panion animal (such as a dog) for yourself or another loved one should be thoughtfully con- sidered. Keep in mind that the responsibility of pet care can be overwhelming for some seniors. Older dogs are generally better for senior companionship, as puppies need training and are usually far too energetic for most seniors. Getting a pet hopefully becomes a long-term
• And other wonderful benefits.
Magic for the Person with Dementia – The very presence of pets can help reduce the effects of dementia – anxiety, agitation, irri- tability, depression, and loneliness. They can also have a positive impact on interaction with others, as they become a conversation-starter. By their very nature, pets do not judge, and
is often the consideration of what to do with the treasured pet and companion. Some area facilities will allow you to bring them along. In fact, many facilities have pets of their own for the residents to enjoy.
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