It’s not just the soft paw that touches an open palm or the sound of a contented purr next to the ear, it’s really the impact of animals on the elderly people. This is especially true for the elderly who live in nursing homes since many of them had pets during their lives. The constant companionship between animals and elders is greatly missed by many as is the unconditional love of a pet.
The impact that animals have on the elderly is not only a mental process, it is physical as well. When it comes to animals and elders, especially those who live in nursing homes, respond physically to the presence of the furry ones. Blood pressure and stress levels have been demonstrated as decreasing with the interaction with a pet. In the long term, animal companionship can help to lower cholesterol levels and fight depression and may also help to protect the elderly against heart attack and stroke.
The presence of a furry companion can make many remarkable changes in the day-to-day lives of the elderly in nursing homes. The response of an animal can take away that lonely feeling. Brushing or feeding a pet can bring back a sense of making a difference to someone and even a sense of worth and responsibility. So-called pet therapy can also make a difference to those who are dealing with Alzheimer’s. Non-verbal communication with responsive animals can help to ease the feelings of confusion and agitation that confront many patients.
As the elderly respond to the presence of animals, so do the animals themselves. The animals seem to know that they are needed and cared for when they are visiting with the elderly. The more petting they receive, the more they seem to want. Dogs and cats especially seem aware of how much their presence means to the people who touch them and talk to them. Dogs and cats are the pets most frequently visiting at nursing homes because they are generally easy to care for and responsive to attention. However, other animals can delight residents as well, such as chicks and bunnies, and even baby goats!
At Felinton Elder Law, the care of older people through hands-on association with animals is just one facet of our dedication to the elderly. We treat your family like our own. For any questions that involve the health and happiness of the elderly, call us because we know that animals and elder care work hand and hand. That’s why Mindy’s dogs come to the office every day.