Getting older can be lonely, especially when living on your own, which is why having a four-legged friend, a bird or even a fish as a companion, is probably one of the best things we can do for ourselves when it comes to both our mental and physical wellbeing. A sense of purpose and belonging becomes essential for seniors, especially when circumstances in living arrangements change – a relocation for example – and strong ties to family, friends and community are impacted as a result.
That said, it’s a well-known fact that animals have an undeniable ability to reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support and boost mood – some might even call them ‘healing powers’. It’s small wonder then, that having pets can perform absolute miracles when it comes to our mental health and wellbeing. Spending time with a pet is one of the single most enjoyable ways to relax and is proven to boost serotonin levels. To have the unconditional love and companionship of another living creature, can provide immense comfort at a time when change is happening around us.
When it comes to pets and seniors specifically, taking care of a pet can manifest a number of psychological and physical benefits that can boost mental health and improve overall quality of life. These include but are not limited to:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Sensory by way of touch
- Increased social interaction
- Sense of purpose
- Providing routine
If you’re looking to adopt a pet, there are many options available to you. Rescue organisations across the country are inundated with dogs and cats looking for good homes and are finding it particularly challenging trying to rehome senior pets that are over eight years old. Everybody wants a puppy but rehoming one to a senior just wouldn’t make sense, which is why a lot of rescue organisations run a ‘Seniors for Seniors’ program. This fabulous initiative ensures the right fit for you by rehoming a dog or cat that is already mature and in the prime of their lives. They too are looking for companionship and unconditional love, a warm bed to sleep in at night, endless belly rubs and leisurely strolls with their humans. A match made in heaven.
The RSPCA NSW also offers an ‘Aged Care’ program, which aims to keep pets and their elderly owners happy, healthy and together in their own homes for as long as possible. They understand that to an elderly owner, a pet can mean everything. They also offer a ‘Seniors for Seniors’ program along with a 50% discount for Senior Card Holders wanting to adopt a ‘golden oldie’.
That said, owning a pet can be great for your mental health, but sometimes, a higher level of support is needed as well.
At Home Care Assistance, our Care Workers are more than happy to step in and help out with your pet, whether it’s assisting with meals or accompanying you both on a walk. We are here to help support you every step of the way.
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.