By George Evens. Recognizing Seniors’ Health will be improved by becoming Guardians of a Companion Animal pet, notably Cats, for our story, but similarly, as feasible and possible, a small Dog would be ideal to some.
- Seniors & their beloved Pet, bringing unequivocal love. We commence our two-part story about Seniors’ & Cats in this issue and will continue the part-two of our story in the JUNE ISSUE, stay tuned
- Seniors’ and the best place to shop for Pets needs or your own, visit Advertisers who support Seniors, found in the Seniors’ 55+ Living Section of the MISSION RECORD published last Friday monthly
An Article – Giving purpose, joy, love and fulfillment to Seniors’ who become Guardians to Senior Cats
Growing up in most families involved sharing space with our beloved Cat or Dog who helped round out the typical family environment. Love received from our Companion Animal is unequivocal and memories cherished for a lifetime.
As we age the needs and affection from our loved ones takes various turns, from close knit families to those separated by a host of complexities, with many Seniors’ seldom interacting with family or finding themselves living alone in family homes or under some form of care.
Depending upon one’s means, home environment and physical abilities, the need for a Companion Animal does not change per se, except in most cases a Cat seems more apt to fulfill most needs. Sadly, many if not most Seniors’ are denied access to this crucial aspect of living, having the unequivocal love of a treasured Cat and this is simply wrong, unfortunate but easily remedied by a visit to your local Shelter.
During 1995 I became involved with Animal Advocacy and formed The Council Animal Advocacy (CLAW), that while all species of Animals fall with my advocacy a particular focus is toward Cats and hence in time, the moniker “Cat Father” seemed to emerge and a lot of my emphasis was toward making the lives of Cats and their Guardians more meaningful and possible.
Foolish initiatives like Landlords denying Tenants a pet because of apparent damage or noise concerns were too rigid and unacceptable. It followed many Seniors’ in Care Homes were denied access to the many benefits of having a local Cat to love and care for.
Being a Cat Guardian gives me a sense of purpose, responsibility, value and reward, gets me up in the morning. Gives me comfort to cuddle in the evening and clean up after in the litter box. A Cat is much more intelligent than most realize and daily entertainment & conversation is often a welcome break in the daily activities underway. Cats are often a creature of habit and, like a little dog, will often follow around the house and adapt to other habits and respond to words, starting with their own name. Easy to care for and often sleep many hours, whereas a Dog is much more dependant and demanding, so depending upon one’s lifestyle, an indoor Cat can meet most needs of Seniors’ companionship.
While I advocate Seniors’ adopt a Companion, Dog or Cat, it ought to be within your ability to properly care for, which extends to proving a home and food, but as well, medical treatment, unfettered exercise and how their presence may impact upon your living accommodations, from type of private home or Condo to Apartment, to some shared extended care facility.
Many progressive and compassionate Extended Care Homes and Hospitals are arranging for visits by Dogs & Cats, as proven beneficial for Patients mental states and improving patients personal health & mental care benefits. As well, I advocate that all Apartment Owners permit Cats & smaller Dogs to live with Guardians, particularly I focus upon Seniors’ in these facilities having a Companion Animal, due in large part to the responsibility of care to their homes, hence will be good Tenants, in a win/win situation for Pets, Seniors’ & Apartment Owner.
For people in our Senior 65+ age group, the senior Cat may be a wise choice. Sadly, many older Cats fall into less adoptable categories, when some families are looking for the Kitten but the facts lean to older Cats being the equal or better choice for companionship and love for Seniors’.
Some of the benefits of adopting and spending time with Animal friends, including but are not limited to, In both Dogs or Cats:
- Help to improve our physical and mental health, improved mood, fewer headaches, fewer bouts of indigestion & less difficulty sleeping
- Benefits of lowered stress levels, blood pressure and pulse rates.
- One study showed Pet Guardians to have lower triglyceride & cholesterol levels (indicators of health disease).
- Unequivocal love & friendship for lonely individuals, who now retired, loss of a spouse or children moved away find Cats a source of inspiration and a proven therapeutic solution to loneliness
- Reduce depression, make Seniors’ less vulnerable to suicide, decrease feelings of isolation
- Seniors Animals are often gentler, calmer companionship and often already altered and trained
- Cause Seniors’ to create some routines and activities that stimulate some mental stimulation, which will benefit overall health
- Can help to make significant changes to a person’s lifespan and in recovery from illness. One study has shown petting a Dog or Cat can actually release endorphins & another elevate levels of serotonin & dopamine, to the body, which can help you feel calmer, lower heart rate & blood pressure. Equally important, a tendency to visit Doctors less often, as one study showed a 21% and another 30% fewer visits to the Doctor.
- Alzheimer patients suffer less stress and have few anxious outbursts if there is a pet in the home or facility. As well, Cats can ease the stress of Caregivers
Part two coming June 2014