Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | Depression | dogs | cats | pets | elderly | seniors

Older Pets Help Older People Stay Healthy

Older man and dog
An older man with his beloved pooch. (Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 13 December 2019 09:41 AM

Japan has the fastest aging population which poses a lot of challenges for the country---including cost-effective ways to keep seniors healthy and in their own homes as long as possible. One animal advocate, Shinobu Takahashi, is pushing to allow shelters and rescue groups to allow seniors to adopt dogs, particularly older dogs often overlooked because of their age.

He launched a nonprofit, no-kill shelter that enables retirees to foster aging canines carefully chosen to match their needs and personality. So far, several of the senior pets have been rehomed with folks in their seventies and eighties.

“Widowed and lonely seniors who had given up on life now have a reason—walking their dogs—to get out of the house again,” he says. “They have something to talk about, chatting with their neighbors.”

In the United States, similar programs have mushroomed, offering support to people 60 and up by helping them adopt senior dogs and cats for a greatly reduced fee.

For example, PAWS in Washington State, offers a Seniors for Seniors adoption program developed to help “senior humans rediscover the joys of having a cat or dog in their lives.”

Research shows that owning a pet helps improve both mental and physical health. Some of the benefits studied include lower blood pressure and stress levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that pet owners tend to be less depressed because they enjoy more social interaction and companionship. They also tend to get more exercise and participate in outdoor activities.

Renowned pet behaviorist Warren Eckstein, host of the nationally syndicated “The Pet Show” on Radio America, tells Newsmax that pets can make a huge impact on the lives of seniors and their health.

“Seniors are often just existing,” he says. “When they get a pet, they come alive. It gives them a reason to get up in the morning, to get dressed and face the day. Once they are outside walking their dog, for example, they meet and converse with others. The pet becomes a catalyst for real conversation instead of always complaining about their joints.”

Eckstein says it’s a shame that many rescue groups refuse to allow seniors to adopt.

“In general, older folks make terrific pet owners because they are more patient,” he says. “Seniors dogs and cats are usually calmer so it’s a good fit.”

Eckstein suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and says his two adopted pooches are instrumental in his mobility.

“If I didn’t get out and walk these little guys I’d probably be in much worse shape,” he admits. As far as senior communities banning dogs because of a few irresponsible pet owners, Eckstein notes that many are now allowing them providing the owner produces DNA samples so they can ID the culprit who doesn’t scoop their poop.

It isn’t a pleasant topic to think about, but seniors should have a backup plan in case they land up in the hospital or have to spend time in a short-term rehabilitation facility. Or even worse, if they pass away, you don’t’ want the senior pet landing up in a shelter again.

“I would certainly suggest that seniors include their pets in a living will so that they are not abandoned if the owner does pass,” Eckstein says.

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Health-News
Japan has the fastest aging population which poses a lot of challenges for the country---including cost-effective ways to keep seniors healthy and in their own homes as long as possible. One animal advocate, Shinobu Takahashi, is pushing to allow shelters and rescue groups...
dogs, cats, pets, elderly, seniors, retirees
541
2019-41-13
Friday, 13 December 2019 09:41 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved