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A senior woman enjoys the benefits of having a pet.

Health Benefits of Pets for Seniors in Nursing Homes

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Pets for seniors in nursing homes are seen to have several benefits, such as providing companionship, promoting social interactions, and acting as stress relievers for seniors. Caring for a pet also gives a sense of responsibility and meaning to seniors, which helps to keep them engaged and mentally active. That is why you should review the pet policies of the nursing homes carefully when choosing one for your loved one.

Health Benefits of Pets for Seniors in Nursing Homes

Seniors find it very challenging to adjust to life in a skilled nursing home even though they realize its importance and purpose. It is more applicable to seniors who have lived independently their entire life. Moving to a nursing home can mean being separated from friends and family, as well as their routine activities in church or clubs. The effects of feeling isolated because of the transition to a skilled nursing home can be easily addressed with a pet.

Pets can also encourage activity and movement in seniors, such as walking dogs. This can help to maintain healthy blood pressure as well as lower the risks of cardiovascular diseases. When in a group home, pets can also help to break the ice and socialize with other residents more effectively. Moreover, it is also seen that caring for pets brings seniors together and they find it more comfortable to interact with each other. This, in turn, helps to elevate mood and reduce the likelihood of depression and other age-related psychological problems.

Note that not all skilled nursing homes allow pets at the facility for seniors. Sometimes, owning and caring for a pet full-time may not be a feasible option for the senior. In such cases, a visiting pet can be the ideal option to find companionship and reap the other health benefits of owning a pet. There are many pet shelters and individual pet owners, who allow sharing their pets with a nursing home for a couple of hours. This too, however, will depend upon the pet policies of the skilled nursing home.

Some nursing homes promote the idea of pet therapy though, and may even provide support to their residents with trained pets to promote socializing and activities in seniors. There are some organizations too, which can help you to find a therapy pet for your senior in a skilled nursing home. This can help to trigger cognitive development and keep your elder parent or grandparent mentally stimulated by having something to care for.

Contact Foothill Heights Care Center to find out if our skilled nursing home is right for you or your family.

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