Before undergoing pet therapy ([iv]), individuals or their caregivers should consult with a therapist who is familiar with the different approaches to figure out which type of pet therapy for elderly patients would be the most appropriate and beneficial. Inogen offers quality, easy-to-use oxygen concentrators for on-the-go or at-home use. – this is arguably the most familiar kind of pet therapy for the elderly and involves animals – usually dogs or cats – visiting nursing homes, hospitals, and senior centers to spend time with patients and residents. What this means is that the pet should match the physical health, lifestyle, cognitive ability, and mobility of the person who will be looking after it. -this is probably one of the biggest concerns of seniors owning pets. This is when some Alzheimer’s patients try to run away or leave their home. Create a pros and cons list. Read This First Before You Make A Decision, Access to the outdoors, exercise, and walking the dog, Interaction with caregivers, neighbor’s, and neighbor’s pets. They make great watchdogs, but they are not always great around children. Menorah Nursing Home in Sheepshead Bay has a visiting dog, Shadow, and Sunrise Senior Living at Sheepshead Bay has a pet dog in resident. Golden retrievers are far more likely to lick their intruders than attack them! 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. You will also need to ensure that the elderly person will be able to give a cat medication when needed or that they will have in-home care assistance to do so. So, it does take a little research, but owning fish can be very rewarding. Different ways to seek out programs include: – often, local branches of your community’s department of human resources will have a separate department especially for senior citizen services. Home Care vs. Staying active and healthy as a senior can be difficult. Meet Pat and Brady Retired and widowed, Pat was looking for a new companion. Many facilities have pet visit volunteers: loving animals—and their owners—who are trained to provide comfort and a special kind of friendship to anyone who can benefit, from a child struggling to read to disaster victims and the elderly. Maybe someone should start a "visiting pet program" where they bring a pet into your home for a few hours a day, then pick it up and take it home and deal with the everyday pet care problems. New Mexico Top. Emotional support animals and dogs used as crime deterrents are excluded from this definition. Contact with pets on a regular basis has been shown to improve cognitive functioning, balance emotional concerns and increase feelings of enthusiasm and interest. Telehealth programs are a great way for patients to keep in touch with health care providers without having to physically go to a care center. 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. Animals used for the therapy can range from domesticated pets to beautiful farm animals. Although, pets can do wonders for an elderly adult, the pet’s needs are important to keep in mind as well. The Benefits of Pet Ownership for the Elderly. Again, designating a trusted family member, neighbor, or friend to come check on you and your pet’s well-being is a great idea. – these smaller dogs are loyal and affectionate to their owners. Many doctors believe that the benefits outweigh the risks, but they might not for you. What’s more, councils and local groups may be able to help out with feeding pets and grooming them. For seniors with limited mobility or those who live in a small space, not any dog will do. Kittens are really cute, but they may also prove too much for an elderly person with failing eyesight or mobility issues. Neighbors are usually the first to complain if there is a problem, or to pick up on an issue like a dog dragging its elderly owner down the road! So, if you have other small animals around, or grandchildren visiting often, she may not be the best choice for your lifestyle. Many seniors will open up and talk to the animals. Feline companionship, as most cat lovers know, is intensely rewarding, takes a lot less energy than owning a dog, and is less time consuming, too. How Can Seniors Stay Healthy During the Pandemic? Cats are another ideal pet for seniors, ([vii]) particularly if the responsibility of training and owning a dog proves to be too difficult and demanding. Fill out the form below and one of our Care Professionals will contact you shortly. Studies have shown that owning a pet can be physically and mentally beneficial for people of all ages. From companionship to security, pets can provide seniors a better quality of live and improve aging in place. Whether your elderly parent lives at home or in an elderly residence, a pet visit might be a great addition to their daily routine. Make sure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost (Remember the oxygen mask metaphor? The downside of pet ownership is a difficult subject to breach because no one wants to give up their beloved pet. 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. Besides asking your loved one how they feel about a pet, take some time to carefully consider whether or not they are able to take care of the pet, or if there is in-home assistance available. Benefits of Pets for elderly persons to the companion animals The benefits of animal ownership for seniors have been understood for decades. These opposing studies create conflicting views on the subject, so it is wise to just do what’s best for you. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. 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. Pet owners can register their dogs and cats for animal assisted therapy and visit elderly in nursing homes, hospitals, classrooms, libraries and other facilities. Animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase social interaction and physical activity.Pets provide other intangibles, too. Your well-being should be top priority. Other humane shelters around the nation are trying to replicate this model. Cockatiels, particularly, can be trained to have large vocabularies, so they really can fill a quiet home for someone who is entering their twilight years, and provide a great deal of life and movement. Some larger and middle-sized dog breeds tend to be a lot calmer and well-tempered, even if they aren’t quite the right size to sit on your lap. The Challenge of Pet Ownership for Seniors. 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. It’s amazing the tasks these dogs can do! www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2013/05/23/a-complete-guide-to-service-therapy-and-emotional-support-dogs/ They might not be physically able to care for them anymore, they might not be allowed to have a pet in their assisted living facility or nursing home, they might rather spend their time traveling, or they might actually be relieved to no longer have the responsibility. Just make sure the stairs are in situated in an area that doesn’t create a problem for anyone to bump into it or have to walk all the way around it. To begin with, if you don’t know how the senior feels about animals, ask. Llama-Assisted Therapies and Play Are you wondering if you should adopt a pet as you age in place? 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. Are you able to spend over $500 a year on your dog or cat? Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke”. Caregivers may not be willing to perform these tasks on top of other caregiving duties. Many seniors feel like their worsening health condition is a burden, and a pet might possibly add to that. If you have a grandchild or child whom bonds with your dog or cat, they might not mind coming over to let the dog out, or scoop out the cat litter. Some older folks go without food or necessities because money is tight, and they love their dog too much to let them suffer. This guide will help you decide on the best choice for you. The best place to find an adult dog is as a rescue group or shelter. Many older folks look forward to these planned pet visits. This is not normally the case. Overall, pet therapy is a wonderful alternative for seniors who do love pets and those who do not seem to respond to other types of therapy. There are numerous reasons for adopting a pet. Pets Improve Socialization. If you would like to find a dog for a senior, the ideal scenario is to find a trained small or toy breed dog. Younger people often overlook the older dogs in favor of puppies, so you can give that unwanted senior a home of his own. Who will look after their pet if they have to leave their home or pass away? We wanted to study the effects of biweekly dog visits on sleep patterns and the psychiatric well‐being of elderly people. Whether reading about breeds and pet care or talking to others about dogs, elderly minds can benefit. Walking or playing with a dog is a great source of exercise. Dogs are also a source of mental stimulation. More exercise isn’t always a good thing for older people with injuries and susceptibility to falls. A pet can prevent this issue by keeping those with Alzheimer’s connected and occupied. 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. Be sure to have the pet checked out by a veterinarian. If a family member or home health aide moves in to be a caregiver, they might not be able to take care of both you and your pet. 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. You can also mix and match to fit your pets needs. In fact, the documented benefits of interaction with pets are mental, emotional, and even physical. A senior who lives alone craves responsibility and companionship and a pet is the perfect way to fill this void, while also providing a long and lasting bond. 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. Yorkshire Terriers are also happy with apartment living and are more than content to sit on your lap for cuddles. Learn more about how to setup a Telehealth program and tips to make your management easier. In-home visits are offered seven days per week from 7am-9pm. 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. “Dogs and cats live very much in the present,” says Dr. Jay P. … A tamed cockatiel or parakeet (unlike larger birds than tend to live for decades), are also delightful additions and can certainly liven up a quiet household. Some older people believe that putting their animal down is the best option because the animal is so bonded to its owner that it would be too depressed to bond with a new owner. The Importance of Wellness & How to Attain It, Recover more quickly from surgery and illness, Have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, Pets can encourage and motivate seniors to stay healthy and get more exercise, which also gives them the feeling of being needed, Many senior citizens who are unresponsive to other forms of therapy tend to feel livelier and chat more with their pets, Animals who have been trained specifically for pet therapy can help seniors improve their motor skills, Increased self-esteem since the aging find that they can care for a pet and the animal enjoys spending time with them. © 2020 Aging in Place | All Rights Reserved. A place to sit and watch the world go by also goes down well with cats and can keep them entertained for hours. Learn More About The Elderly Pet Organization We provide information and education about the care and treatment of elderly pets. – this variety are fun to be around, lively, active, and incredibly affectionate. All clients pre-screened. – silky Yorkshire Terriers will require daily grooming to keep their long locks in shiny and smooth condition. – older, mix-breed dogs from a shelter are often the best pets for seniors. We wanted to study the effects of biweekly dog visits on sleep patterns and the psychiatric well-being of elderly people. It will actually give your beloved relative a great sense of relief, especially when it concerns their most loved four-legged companion. 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. It is also worth noting that Maltese dogs require loads of attention, so they cannot be left alone for extended periods of time. Finding the right pet for you or your family member is easy, and the benefits can be far-reaching. Since our first match between a senior dog and a senior citizen in August of 1999, Pets for Seniors has rescued over 700 older dogs and cats from euthanasia at Central Illinois animal control facilities and found them homes, most with senior citizens who had given up having companion animals despite the proven physical and emotional benefits. Senior dogs and cats are better for the elderly because they are more calm, quiet, and less maintenance. Interacting with such animals helps to refine the patient’s physical skills and build their confidence. Unlike dogs who are happy to follow you all around, cats will come to you for affection when they want to – it’s all on their own terms. Very flexible schedules, very appreciative recipients of visits. – 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? Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs International are volunteer-run organizations with outposts all over the world. Is it hard for you to bend down to their level to clean up after a cat or dog? The small breed is perfect for seniors who are home most of the time and able to play, interact, and walk frequently. Designating a god-parent or guardian for your pet in case you become ill or unable to care for the pet, is the humane, smart path to take. Our visits help to promote healing because the patient is able touch and pet the dog. They usually come in three different weight categories, including 20 – 25 pounds, 15 to below 20 pounds, and under 15 pounds. 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. Veterinarians are good resources for finding pet care assistance. Discover more tips for comfortably aging in place. Adult dogs are ideal as they are usually already housetrained. 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. New Orleans Visiting Pet Program - … Service dog skills include: opening doors with a strap, pushing doors closed, helping their handler dress and undress, helping those in wheelchairs sit up straight & place feet and arms on footrests and armrests, preventing falls, and retrieving wheelchairs and walkers. – Boston Terriers, on the other hand, make exceptional watchdogs. If a senior person is interested in a bird, it can really be a match made in heaven. 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. 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. }, 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? Having a plan B and/or a pet helper may prevent injuries that lead to surgery, months of rehabilitation, and a lot of emotional stress. You should also keep in mind that what a person wants and what he or she needs can be separate things. This is a big concern and huge source of anxiety for many older pet owners. The best pets for seniors are the ones that are compatible with the individual. This is a decision you will have to make together. www.aspca.org/about-us/press-releases/aspca-releases-updates-estimated-costs-pet-ownership. Birds can talk back constantly, providing a great deal of entertainment and companionship. Not only will they provide companionship for your elderly parent, but serve as a reminder of the joys of life. Centers should be able to provide contact information for individuals and organizations who use pets in therapy sessions. 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. Don’t put yourself in danger of breaking bones simply because you are too proud to ask for help. Greyhounds are not prone to barking much, but be aware that they do have a strong prey instinct. You should be cautious of breed lists as they are only suggestions, and it will depend on the dog and the individual. In the case of senior citizens, “just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. 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. What happens to the pet if the owner dies? 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. Every year, about 21,000 seniors are treated in emergency rooms for falls related to pets, and many of these falls involve fractures which can be life changing for elderly individuals. – visit local pet stores who may have information on pet therapy in your areas. In some cases, an elderly person may forget to medicate or feed their pet. This could very well be a correlation, not causation, but it is something to consider if you are prone to depression or mental illness. 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. This designated guardian could be a family member, friend, neighbor, or trusted pet adoption agency. Pat tells us when she saw Brady at the Humane Society, she couldn’t resist. Find the right service dog for you. 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