It is known that home health care offers many wonderful benefits. Patients are able to receive personalized care modified to meet their needs while being able stay in their home with their belongings and family members. An advantage that might often get overlooked, is the opportunity to keep a beloved pet. Often a pet is considered a member of the family and leaving one can be a very saddening experience.
Animals can provide therapeutic benefits for everyone from age 1 to 100. Studies show that pets can increase socialization and physical activity. Pet owners, especially seniors, have been known to have better physical and mental health than people who do not own a pet. Having an animal can be linked to decreased blood pressure, lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and the positive feelings that having a companions provides. Grooming, exercising, and overall care of a pet promotes better mobility. Most importantly, it can be a pleasurable experience.
Studies and research have found that having a pet in the house can supply special benefits for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Patients experience less stress, and emotional outbursts may be less frequent. The soft touch of an animal can be a soothing influence. Pets are also able to interact nonverbally which can be comforting to someone whose communication skills are dwindling.
In addition to reducing stress, the presence of a pet has shown to also encourage more social interaction from Alzheimer’s patients. They can increase physical activity through tasks such as combing a dog’s fur, playing with a cat’s toy, or even going for a short walk, depending on the person’s mobility. Believe it or not, patients have even been shown to have increased appetite.
If the patient does not already have a pet, you might consider getting one. Before adding a pet to your home, make sure the person wants a pet and can share in some of the responsibilities of pet ownership. As time progresses you will be taking on most or all of the tasks related to owning the animal, so make sure it is something that is a good fit for everyone. You will also want to think about what they best type of pet is. It could be a lovable dog or cat, or something that require less maintenance like a fish. If you do have a pet, thank them for the great health benefits they are giving to you and your family!
If an animal is not right for your home, but the Alzheimer’s patient in your life would still benefit from a companion, call MAS Home Care. We specialize in Maine Alzheimer’s care, New Hampshire Alzheimer’s care and Rhode Island Alzheimer’s care. MAS Home Care can match you with a caregiver for a friendly face to interact with or meet other needs you many have.