Pets for the Elderly
Most people in the English language have heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While that very well may, or may not, be true—what about pets? Wouldn’t it be better if that Granny Smith were a Husky puppy? If that Delicious Red were a fluffy, gray kitten who purrs in your lap? Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not condoning eating the family pet, but instead supporting the idea that owning an animal can help your, and your family’s health. In 1999, people who were of the age 65 and older made up a little over 12% of the US population. Thirteen years later, that number is probably much higher. Pets, be it a cat, dog, rabbit, or even a hedgehog, can make a positive change in both the physical and mental health of the elderly. In the next few minutes, I will address the following: pets being able to help the elderly feel like they’re more connected to the world around them instead of just feeling isolated like most might in their small homes, pets being able to help improve and maintain their mental stability, as well as what one would need to keep in mind when getting a pet for an elderly loved one. As one begins to transition into an ‘elderly state’, occasionally a concern of feeling unwanted is present.
The majority of the elderly are parents whose children have long been in adulthood. More so are even widowed. They could find it pretty difficult to connect with the world around them and be social able- thus making them feel even more disconnected and alone. When they have a pet, the pet’s health is dependent upon them. They fulfill all of its necessities; including food, water, and—maybe most importantly—love and companionship. This can give them that all-important feeling of feeling needed again. Both felines and canines alike usually adore physical contact, and most will even go out of their way to seek it. A cat will curl up on one’s lap- or jump up on the couch and brush against your hand while starting the motor of...
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