If you would like to find a dog for a senior, the ideal scenario is to find a trained small or toy breed dog. Now there's an idea for an entrepreneur. Every week a therapy dog visits the Essentia floor, a floor reserved for residents with special needs. Walking a dog is a good way for seniors to get physical exercise. The departments tend to have a list of volunteers as well as community resource information pertaining specifically to an elderly person’s welfare and health needs, including animal-assisted therapy. Llama-Assisted Therapies and Play Talk to your relative and other family members or caregivers and make it something you all do together. In an emergency situation, service dogs are trained to perform life-saving tasks, like retrieving medication, calling 911, opening the door for EMT and first responders, running to get help or barking for help after identifying an emergency, and laying down on their handler’s chest to help them cough or breath better. Many doctors believe that the benefits outweigh the risks, but they might not for you. Caregivers may not be willing to perform these tasks on top of other caregiving duties. Are you able to spend over $500 a year on your dog or cat? Just as long as the dogs receive their daily exercise, food, water, affection, and a cozy place to sleep, you can count on having a faithful companion. Learn more about if Inogen is the right oxygen concentrator provider for you or a loved one. Nursing homes were one of the first settings to graciously open their doors to the concept of pet visits. What you don’t hear about very often are the dangers of owning a pet as a senior citizen. Dogs as companions for seniors is a topic we like to discuss. Pets for Seniors in Illinois created an adoption program that matches senior dogs and senior cats with senior citizens. Find the right service dog for you. Ask your doctor, physical therapist, or social worker about any pet therapy programs in your community. If you are particularly looking for a dog who offers protection in your golden years, this is not the right breed! }, false ); Servicing New York, New Jersey, Texas and Florida, The Art of How to Hire a Home Health Care Agency for Seniors with Confidence, Time To Hire An In-Home Caregiver? Staying active and healthy as a senior can be difficult. Reach out to family members, friends, neighbors who care, or a nonprofit that provides assistance to aging pet owners. Studies show that seniors who are active and always around others, or who own a pet, decline in health far less rapidly than isolated or depressed seniors. The best way to pick a dog out at a pound is to see which one shows the most interest in you. They may even hold dog grooming classes as a fun senior activity. The initial costs are usually high. Service dogs are trained to perform life-saving tasks, like retrieving medication, calling 911, opening the door for EMT and first responders, running to get help or barking for help after identifying an emergency, and laying down on their handler’s chest to help them cough or breath better. Again, designating a trusted family member, neighbor, or friend to come check on you and your pet’s well-being is a great idea. Life can be isolating as you age, and the death of pet could add to this stress. Pets As Therapy is a national charity founded in 1983. Choose from 15 minute, 30 minute, 45 minute, or 60 minute visits. We seniors could pay a monthly "rental" fee to have a pet of our choice make regular short visits. As with other important topics that tend to be overlooked as we age, family members should make a concerted effort to get involved and discuss these issues. Our visits help to promote healing because the patient is able touch and pet the dog. Keep your pet for as long as possible, but don’t be afraid to start the succession plan when you need to. Are you wondering if you should adopt a pet as you age in place? Sadly, relatives and friends often don’t get involved until there is some sort of tragedy. Home Care vs. New Orleans Visiting Pet Program - … If you are an aging pet owner, create a succession plan you are comfortable with early on. Benefits of Pets for elderly persons to the companion animals The benefits of animal ownership for seniors have been understood for decades. Discover more tips for comfortably aging in place. In-home visits are offered seven days per week from 7am-9pm. The extra help with pet-care costs not only allows seniors to take better care of their animal companions, it … A local volunteer will come to your home and bring a trained service dog that is very well-behaved. Seniors tend to look forward to looking after and playing with their pets and they love to talk to them and share their thoughts. Make sure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost (Remember the oxygen mask metaphor? In this article we are going to explore: Not only do furry friends offer unconditional love and companionship, emerging research ([iii]) suggests that they have the ability to boost general health and well-being, especially in senior citizens. Who will look after their pet if they have to leave their home or pass away? Animals that are used for pet therapy purposes also have to: If you have an aging loved one who you think could benefit from pet therapy for depression and other ailments, or who simply could do with the companionship and you don’t want him or her to have their own pet, you will need to find the right pet therapy program. Please include attribution to https://caringpeopleinc.com with this graphic. Create a pros and cons list. – Boston Terriers, on the other hand, make exceptional watchdogs. Trained to visit hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other care-giving institutions, these friendly, gentle canines bring joy and good health to those no longer able to care for their own dogs. There are several behaviors your dog must learn before he is considered safe and ready to put a smile on the faces of the many elderly people he will visit. However, you can also get wiry and soft coat Yorkies who do not require quite as much upkeep. It is also enjoyable for you to see the smiles and tears your pet therapy visits with your pet evokes. Service dogs go through extensive training to remain calm and help their owner with mobility issues. A pet can prevent this issue by keeping those with Alzheimer’s connected and occupied. For those seniors who want a dog, there are many reasons to be wary of jumping into pet adoption too quickly. The best place to find an adult dog is as a rescue group or shelter. There are also some nonprofits in existence that will help elderly folks care for their pets when walking their dog multiple times a day or cleaning out the litter box is too burdensome. They usually come in three different weight categories, including 20 – 25 pounds, 15 to below 20 pounds, and under 15 pounds. Choosing a cat with a nice temper and being able to clean a litter box is pretty much all it takes to enjoy your relationship with a cat. “Dogs and cats live very much in the present,” says Dr. Jay P. … While your aging aunty may be keen to walk her dog every day at the age of 70, will she still be able to do so? – pets are proven to be a valuable prescription and often, alternative therapy practices will encourage patients to own pets for the emotional and mental benefits mentioned earlier on. Therapy dog visits to homebound frail, elderly who desire companionship and to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their Caregivers. Let’s expand on these now, so you can decide if pet therapy is right for the senior in your life. Pet therapy([x]) for depression lends itself well to fish! Pet therapy, also referred to as animal assisted therapy, is a kind of therapy that uses pets as a form of companionship and treatment. Overall, temperament testing is key. Learn more about how to setup a Telehealth program and tips to make your management easier. In fact, the documented benefits of interaction with pets are mental, emotional, and even physical. It is important that the animal learns these responses so that they don’t panic when they are faced with a real-life scenario. Less Risk Of Heart Disease And High Cholesterol If your senior has high cholesterol… – how often have you heard of complaints where a dog has been running around and pooping all over the neighborhood, even though there is a leash law in place? www.agingcare.com/articles/parents-can-no-longer-care-for-pets-151682.htm That is but one of the roles a dog can fill for our loved ones, though. Although, pets can do wonders for an elderly adult, the pet’s needs are important to keep in mind as well. Golden retrievers are far more likely to lick their intruders than attack them! It is not a “yappy” type of dog and is usually content living in smaller homes and apartments, just as long as they get regular indoor play and outdoor exercise. Just because you give away a pet or choose not to take one into your home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t visit with other family pets or receive pet therapy. A place to sit and watch the world go by also goes down well with cats and can keep them entertained for hours. See if you can find a co-caretaker for your pet. As for needs, all a cat really needs is food, water, a litter box, a couple of toys, and a scratching post. The pet also helps the senior to communicate more with other pet owners and caregivers. To begin with, if you don’t know how the senior feels about animals, ask. Isolation-induced depression is common in seniors. Families are often the primary caregivers for a person who requires care at home. Individuals who do wish to own a pet, though, must carefully consider the requirements and needs to the pet they would like before choosing their new companion. Those who work caring for the elderly say that pets pull withdrawn seniors out of their shell, provide mild activity and cardio through walking and grooming the pet, and offer a way to feel needed and connect with the world. Before you decide to buy a cat or dog for that special senior in your life, you should try a few things out first. Contact with pets on a regular basis has been shown to improve cognitive functioning, balance emotional concerns and increase feelings of enthusiasm and interest. Some doctors studying seniors and their pets believe that the death of an animal can affect an elderly person’s depression in a more severe way. “The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 2011 defines service dogs as those trained to do work directly related to a person’s disability. For hearing impaired owners, service dogs are trained in alerting their handlers to the presence of other people or particular sounds, retrieving dropped objects, carrying messages, and warning that an unseen vehicle is approaching. The best pets for seniors are the ones that are compatible with the individual. Hospice pet volunteers visit patients in nursing homes, assisted living communities and private homes. The aim of therapy could be to improve a senior’s emotional, social, or cognitive abilities. “Animals’ non-verbal communication and profound acceptance can be soothing for those with difficulty using language; some may even connect with memories of their own treasured pets,” (Byrne, 2015). newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/rethinking-the-value-of-pets/ Many older folks look forward to these planned pet visits. What’s more, councils and local groups may be able to help out with feeding pets and grooming them. – a lot of doctors, particularly those who work in geriatric care, will know of different resources for seniors, including pet therapy. While not all seniors may be able to take care of a pet themselves, pet therapy may be just the thing to cheer them up and make them feel wanted. Dogs are also a source of mental stimulation. If a senior person is interested in a bird, it can really be a match made in heaven. Taking away a pet may cause an elderly person to deteriorate mentally and physically, so make sure to allow regular visits with the pet. Pet owners can register their dogs and cats for animal assisted therapy and visit elderly in nursing homes, hospitals, classrooms, libraries and other facilities. For seniors with disabilities, a service dog might be the best option. This designated guardian could be a family member, friend, neighbor, or trusted pet adoption agency. Animals used for the therapy can range from domesticated pets to beautiful farm animals. Find out more about the risk of depression related to isolation and the steps you can take to avoid it. The Challenge of Pet Ownership for Seniors. Dogs, particularly, have daily requirements, and the senior or caregiver’s responsibilities will include: – these can range greatly from the simple act of feeding a healthy dog to more complex issues for the senior pet owner looking after their canine. They are content to dwell with their senior owners in apartments but do need to be walked at least daily. A solo male is more than happy to live in a small fishbowl in a warm area. Senior dogs and cats are better for the elderly because they are more calm, quiet, and less maintenance. Pat tells us when she saw Brady at the Humane Society, she couldn’t resist. Whether you are a busy single professional living alone in a small apartment in the city, a family with children living in a house in the suburbs or a senior citizen living in a retirement home, a cat can be your ideal pet. The training often involves the pet having to go through a range of likely situations with a trainer so that the pet learns the appropriate behavior and responses. There are so many benefits of pet therapy for the elderly, including: Pet therapy is by no means a new concept. Asking a loved one or volunteer agency to take care of the more physical aspects of pet care can alleviate stress and susceptibility to accidents. – these smaller dogs are loyal and affectionate to their owners. Pets … The Benefits of Pet Ownership for the Elderly. Also, it is worth noting that you may want to be cautious of finding “just any old” Boston terrier, Maltese poodle, or Chihuahua, just because they have been recommended. Pets for Seniors in Illinois created an adoption program that matches senior dogs and senior cats with senior citizens. Some doctors studying seniors and their pets believe that the death of an animal can affect an elderly person’s depression in a more severe way. Increased social interaction with other pet owners and patients, Pet therapy for depression and decreased anxiety works by the patient forming a bond with a pet, Higher comfort levels when visiting family who have pets, Reduced loneliness by spending time with and caring for a pet, Increased exercise if the pet has considerable exercise needs, Increased mobility from petting, walking, and brushing the pet, Lowered blood pressure and a reduction in depression, stress, and anxiety from the non-judgmental and gentle nature of the relationship, Enhanced physical skills through intensive forms of pert therapy for the elderly, such as swimming with dolphins or riding horses, Mental stimulation through contact with pet handlers, Flexibility and planning practice from planning for a pet’s care yet needing to have the flexibility to respond to another creature’s needs, Memory stimulation by comparing the therapy pet to other pets, Be properly and well socialized, as they may be required to meet new people frequently, Understand how to interact with seniors who use wheelchairs, crutches, and other mobility aid. “My dog Hudson, a 9-year-old Italian Greyhound, and I make regular PET visits at senior facilities around San Diego. – this is by far a more intensive treatment where patients who need extreme rehabilitation are paired with highly sensitive animals, such as horses or dolphins, as part of their therapy regime. – from brushing the dog regularly to bathing, finding transportation to a dog parlour, will the senior need help when the easiest of tasks become too hard to handle? Affection, stimulation, companionship, and sheer joy are all to be gained with pet ownership, not to mention the health benefits mentioned earlier in this article. A lot of the smaller breeds of dogs can be yappy, in need of loads of exercise, hard to housetrain, and just as difficult to medicate. Cats & Seniors. In some cases, it may be necessary to make the heartbreaking decision to give up a pet. From companionship to security, pets can provide seniors a better quality of live and improve aging in place. In some cases, it may be necessary to make the heartbreaking decision to give up a pet. Don’t be that person! There are numerous reasons for adopting a pet. Positive effects tied to active pet ownership included lower body mass index, fewer reported doctor visits and less sedentary time, according … For these reasons, choosing a designated family member or in-home health aide that is willing to check on the pet and help take care of it would be ideal. Some of the links on this page may link to our affiliates. Yes, having the unconditional love of a pet can provide seniors who wish to age in place one with whom they can exchange love and … Have a succession plan for your pet. They are usually already trained and often have less health issues than purebred dogs. So, it does take a little research, but owning fish can be very rewarding. If you are considering getting a pet for your aging loved one, no matter how caring your intentions may be, it is never a great idea to choose a pet for someone else. “Over 86,000 people per year have to go to the emergency room because of falls involving their dogs and cats, and these fractures can be devastating for the elderly,” said Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Seliger, 2012). The downside of pet ownership is a difficult subject to breach because no one wants to give up their beloved pet. For visually impaired owners, service dogs are trained in avoiding obstacles like moving vehicles, signaling change in elevation, locating objects on command, and retrieving dropped objects. Emotional support animals and dogs used as crime deterrents are excluded from this definition. © 2020 Aging in Place | All Rights Reserved. The unconditional love of a dog brings healing and meaning to a sometimes lonely stage in life. Overall, dogs do make sensational pet therapy for elders ([v]). Puppies have been known to cost upwards of $800 in their first year for healthcare, food, toys, and everything else that goes into pet care. A pre-existing illness or disease could drain your bank account or make you sick. Whether your elderly parent lives at home or in an elderly residence, a pet visit might be a great addition to their daily routine. You can also mix and match to fit your pets needs. It is unique in that it provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues by volunteers with their own friendly, temperament tested and vaccinated dogs and cats. When you find each other, you will just know. Elderly people with compromised immune systems or extremely fragile skin will need to do their best to avoid getting scratched. Previous studies have suggested that visiting dogs can have positive effects on elderly people in nursing homes. Birds don’t require much space at all and they can be trained not only to speak, but also to whistle, and even climb on their owner’s finger or hand. It is important to make sure you have the funds to adopt a pet. Very flexible schedules, very appreciative recipients of visits. – buying food for a dog is one thing, but there are vet visits, flea products, dog walking services, and even heartworm prevention to think about. 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