In celebration of World Animal Day, we look at the benefits of pets for older people –particularly those living at home.
There’s no doubt that a pet can be a wonderful companion and pet ownership comes with responsibilities that can be beneficial to the elderly.
However, when these responsibilities become harder to do on your own, it’s good to know that some home care providers can help with pet care. This can allow you to enjoy all the benefits of pet ownership while ensuring your pet continues to be well looked after and healthy.
Benefits of pet ownership for seniors living at home
A familiar face in the form of a pet can be comforting and reassuring, particularly for those living alone. A dog or cat can be a huge comfort for anyone of any age.
While a pet does require some work, this can be beneficial to an ageing population. Pets can help shape structure and give purpose to daily life. A pet will help to create a routine to punctuate the day, setting a structure around getting up, daily exercise and meal times.
We can all benefit from regular exercise. Having a pet like a dog can encourage small but regular walks on a daily basis, helping increase heart health and overall fitness.
It’s been found that seniors with pets actually experience less stress than their pet-free counterparts. Stroking pets can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine – the “happy hormones” – while keeping blood pressure low.
Having a pet around can help bolster that sense of security, giving peace of mind in the home.
Making new friends
With a pet by your side, particularly a pet that requires regular exercise can help not only form routines but friendships too. Communal walks with other pet owners are a common activity for the older generation and pets can provide that icebreaker into a lasting friendship. Read Sheila’s story about how walking her dog has helped her feel connected to her community.
It can be a struggle to find the motivation to leave the home sometimes, even if there are plenty of activities to enjoy. A pet that requires walking can encourage regular outings.
How home care can help with pet care
The 2017 AWLA Pets in Aged Care Study revealed that while 63 per cent of Australian households are pet owners, only 18 per cent of residential aged care facilities allow pets to reside with their owners. Those ageing in their own home can’t always access the support to keep their pets either, with only 9 per cent of in-home services saying that they offer pet-friendly services.
The result is that many seniors are forced to give away or surrender their beloved family pets when they make the move to aged care.
Envigor recognises the importance of supporting older people to keep their pets and offers a range of pet care services to ensure your pet is well-looked after and healthy, freeing you up to enjoy more snuggle time with your fur baby.
Pet care services
Envigor offers pet care services tailored to your needs through your home care package or through private fee-for-service arrangements.
Pet care services include:
- Dog walking
- Dog grooming and washing
- Pet feeding
- Vet visits
- Medication and worm treatments