Whether it’s a cat, dog, or other type of domestic animal, having a pet can be therapeutic for seniors with Alzheimer’s. If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, Las Vegas at-home care professionals discuss 4 ways pets can be used to enhance his or her quality of life.
1. Provide Sensory Stimulation
As your loved one’s disease progresses, enhancing his or her senses becomes increasingly important. Having a friendly cat with soft fur to pet can comfort your loved one and boost his or her mood, and walking a dog can provide the opportunity to get outside and smell the flowers or watch birds fly. Spending time with a pet may also help reduce your loved one’s anxiety and prevent agitation.
2. Create a Sense of Purpose
Having a pet can give your loved one a sense of responsibility and a feeling of being needed. When your loved one accomplishes pet chores like walking, feeding, or grooming, he or she is likely to feel proud. Depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is in, some supervision from a Las Vegas live-in home caregiver may be needed when going on walks or carrying out other pet chores.
3. Increase Socialization
When your loved one has a pet, he or she may have more opportunities for socialization, which can help stave off some of the effects of Alzheimer’s. Your loved one can discuss the pet with others and learn everything about the animal from online sites and books, which provides the mental stimulation he or she needs. This information can help your loved one begin conversations about the pet’s personality and characteristics with his or her caregiver, family members, or even new acquaintances. Pets can also help your loved one stay connected with his or her grandkids because children are often fascinated with animals.
4. Encourage Better Nutrition
Pet therapy can also boost your loved one’s nutritional intake, especially if he or she prefers fish as pets. In 2002, researchers at Purdue University performed a study on the influence of pet therapy on nutritional intake in seniors with Alzheimer’s. The researchers studied 62 seniors who lived in special units with aquariums, and they discovered nutritional consumption increased during the first 2 weeks and continued to do so over the next 6-week period. Seniors in this study gained about 1.65 pounds on average and didn’t need as much nutritional supplementation, which decreased the cost of their health care.
If your loved one is not able to have a pet, there are other ways to boost his or her overall wellbeing. For instance, he or she can participate in activities specifically designed to help seniors with memory-related conditions lead happier and healthier lives. At Las Vegas Home Care Assistance, we offer a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which uses activities to help slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on the Alzheimer’s and dementia care Las Vegas, NV, seniors and their families rely on, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (702) 550-3185 today.