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How Home Care Services Help People Stay with Animal Companions

May 9, 2016

 

Home care services allow people to heal or age comfortably in the familiar surroundings of their home environment. There are many benefits to this and one is that home caregiving allows people to maintain the connection they have with their animal companions.

When home care is not an option, many people lose their animal companions along with their home, since they are not able to bring their pets with them to their new location. This loss can be a heart wrenching experience, especially for seniors, who over the years lose many friends and family members to old age; being separated from their animal companions is just one more loss through which they have to suffer.

One of the goals of home care services provided by professional caregivers is to take an integrated approach when developing a caregiving plan. In addition to directly caring for the client, caregivers also help with tasks like household chores, gardening, meal preparation, and caring for the client’s animal companions. Caregivers understand that pets can be just as much a part of the family as anyone else and also recognize comfort pets give their owners.

Most of us are aware of the benefits provided by having pets, but animals can be especially beneficial to people with disabilities, people healing from an illness, and aging seniors.


Animals Are Good for Heart Health

Studies have shown that animal companions can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. One of the reasons for this is that animals naturally encourage people to get more exercise. Even taking a dog out for a short walk or tossing a ball to a cat can have a positive effect on your heart. A good relationship with an animal companion induces a calming effect, making them a natural mood enhancer and helpful for mental well-being. All of these factors reduce stress levels and blood pressure and are therefore good for your heart.

Home Care Services and Pets as a Source of Therapy

The recognition of the benefits provided by companion animals is so high that therapy dogs are now being used in courtrooms as a way to provide emotional comfort to witnesses who have to testify regarding traumatic experiences. The benefits of pets as a source of therapy extends beyond mental and emotional well-being, though. Therapy animals, and dogs in particular, can be trained to assist with daily tasks, including opening doors, alerting people to medical emergencies, and acting as seeing-eye dogs. Home care services enable people to enjoy the benefits of having pets as therapy animals, and caregivers can even work with their clients to acquire the therapy animals that are best suited for the clients’ specific needs.

Animal Companions Help Combat Depression

Depression and loneliness are issues that are often addressed with senior home care services. Pets help combat feelings of loneliness by providing companionship, which has been shown to boost the overall mood of pet owners and even boost happiness. Studies have also shown that simply petting a cat or a dog can release natural endorphins in people and other “feel good” chemicals including oxytocin, dopamine, prolactin, and norepinephrine. The comfort of touch and the steady, rhythmic motion of petting an animal both induce a feeling of calmness and help alleviate loneliness.

Animal Companions Help Maintain a Sense of Identity

When you’re recovering from an illness, struggling with a disability, or trying to adjust to an increasingly aging body, it can be easy to lose your sense of self-identity. One of the goals of home care agencies with professional caregiving services is helping people to maintain a sense of self. Pets naturally become parts of our identities and shape our personalities and even how we interact with others. Since people often have very strong bonds and connections to their animal companions, helping people maintain this relationship with their pets allows people to also maintain a connection to who they are.

All of these reasons and more explain why animal companions are beneficial for senior care and home care services in general. If you have questions about the kinds of services provided by home care agencies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Alegre Home Care. We’re happy to answer any of your questions.

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