It has long been known that the companionship of animals can provide a valuable source of comfort and relief for people. If someone loves animals, the pleasure they get from pet ownership has many life enhancing benefits and this is particularly true for the elderly. The ability to keep a pet is a major benefit for the lives of elderly people who opt for care at home as opposed to moving to a residential or nursing home.
Giving love and care to a pet can has been shown in repeated studies to have a number of measurable health benefits. The act of stroking an animal promotes relaxation, reduces stress and increases the feeling of wellbeing. The companionship of an animal also relieves feelings of isolation to which some older people are particularly vulnerable.
Pet ownership and the responsibility of caring for an animal can also have a positive psychological effect in promoting feelings of self-worth and esteem in the pet owner. The pet’s total dependence on its owner for its welfare and health gives a feeling of purpose to the owner.
Pet ownership is a responsibility which some older people might find difficult. However with the support of a dedicated home care professional who can assist with looking after a pet, there is no reason why an elderly person cannot enjoy the pleasure and lifestyle benefits of an animal’s company.