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Elderly Health: What Are the Benefits of Owning Dogs and Cats?

Having a dog or cat provides seniors with a number of benefits that can boost their physical, mental, and emotional health. If your elderly loved one is considering becoming a pet owner, Toronto elder care experts believe this list of important advantages may make his or her decision easier.

Physical Activity

Dogs and cats need regular care that requires seniors to be more active on a daily basis. Dogs need to go for walks to get enough exercise and relieve themselves. While cats do not need to be taken for walks, senior cat owners need to perform routine tasks that require them to be up and about, such as emptying and cleaning litter boxes. This increased physical activity can help your loved one keep his or her muscles and joints strong and flexible, which can ease stiffness and soreness associated with arthritis and other conditions.

Mood Enhancement

Having a dog or cat around the home can provide your loved one with a significant emotional boost. Petting and playing with a dog or cat gives him or her a chance to enjoy companionship he or she might not otherwise have. These interactions and the affection dogs and cats offer can help lower your loved one’s risk of depression and enhance his or her overall quality of life.

Stress Relief

Seniors who are under stress on a regular basis have a higher risk of developing health issues like depression and heart problems, but having a dog or cat around to spend time with can serve as an effective form of stress relief. Being able to sit and pet a dog or cat can ease symptoms of stress and anxiety, which can help your loved one stay physically and emotionally healthy as he or she ages.

Cognitive Stimulation

Some seniors are at risk of developing dementia, but having a dog or cat around can help delay or prevent cognitive decline. Taking care of the responsibilities involved with owning a cat or dog, such as feeding and grooming, can give your loved one a sense of purpose and a chance to keep his or her mind sharp.

Though a pet can be helpful in promoting a senior’s health, there are times when only the human touch will suffice. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers are not only trained to provide cognitive and social stimulation and assistance with exercise, but they can also help with everyday tasks like cooking, bathing, and grooming. For seniors who need more extensive assistance, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care Toronto seniors can count on. Call a friendly Care Manager today at (416) 488-8777 to learn more.