A pet is a perfect friend
For many of our senior citizens living in Oxfordshire or Berkshire, owning a pet provides enormous amounts of companionship. Pets can also help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Owning one can increase social interaction and physical activity for both pet and owner.
Maintaining a routine
All pets need walking, feeding, watering, grooming and playing with. All of these activities must be carried out by responsible owners. Owning a pet gifts a new sense of purpose and it also helps with routines such as regular times to get up in the morning, buying food and going outside. Just getting up to let a dog out a few times a day or brushing a cat can benefit the cardiovascular system. Not to mention it greatly helps to keep joints limber and flexible.
Companionship & Friends
Many older people lack physical contact and renewing this through a pet has great benefits. They can be an excellent source of companionship and can act as a support for older people who do not have any family, or close friends nearby. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrated that independently living older people who had pets tended to have better physical health and mental well-being than those that did not. They were more active, coped better with stress, had better overall health, also significantly lower blood pressure. Often the elderly have trouble leaving home, so they do not have a chance to see many people. Pets give them a chance to go out and interact. This can help combat depression, one of the most common medical problems facing the elderly.
Celia is my 92 year old Grandmother and has lived alone in Wiltshire since Grandad died about 10 years ago. Grandad was a Wiltshire based farmer and they always had working dogs, after he retired they became pets and a source of companionship. So when Grandad passed away Celia continued to have dogs as it was a source of comfort and routine for her. Even though Celia has a large family who live in Oxfordshire and many friends in Gloucestershire, owning a dog provided her with a companion when there was nobody around. She also had to take her dog out for a walk everyday, so this kept her extremely active. Unfortunately just before Christmas her current dog ‘Bet’ became unwell and had to be put to sleep. Having spoken to her she really does miss Bet’s presence around the house and is looking to get another dog.
Not all plain sailing
If you know an elderly person that would benefit from having a pet there will be a few things to consider. Make sure they want the responsibility of a pet, as well as the noise and mess that comes with it. Talk to them about whether they feel capable of feeding, watering, grooming, exercising, and cleaning up after an animal. Finally, before you encourage an elderly person to adopt a pet you will need to consider who would take care of the animal if its owner is no longer able to do so.
Of course, it would be a huge responsibility for an elderly relative to get their furry new companion when they are a puppy or kitten. If you feel that a new pet would be a great advantage then there are many places where more mature animals, (which may not be as hectic or high maintenance as others) are waiting to be adopted. The Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary have centres locally. The Blue Cross in Oxfordshire and Berkshire have many animals that are also looking for their companion.
We here at Mumby’s understand the importance of having someone or something for support. A pet can be a great source of companionship should your loved ones feel lonely.
If you would like any more information on what we have discussed above please feel free to get in touch.