Pets are good for seniors, but remember, they must have care
I've heard that pets are great for seniors. My parents are in their 70s and I'm trying to get them to consider a pet. Anything I can say to convince them?
Answer: Adding a pet to the family is a big decision. It's important to let your parents decide on their own if they are up to the care, cost and commitment required.
Many studies conducted over the years have indicated that pets can improve quality of life for everyone, no matter what their age.
For seniors, where health challenges, loneliness and depression are more common, pets have a lot to offer their human companions. Studies have shown that having a pet can reduce blood pressure, speed recovery and keep people fit.
Pets need walking, feeding and grooming, as well as playing and petting. Even if it's just getting up to let a dog out a few times a day or brushing a cat, any activity can benefit the body and help keep joints limber and flexible. Consistently performing this kind of minor exercise can help pet owners carry out the normal activities of daily living.
Pets also contribute to our emotional health. They offer unconditional love and provide relief from social isolation, and can fulfill the human need for touch. Caring for an animal also gives many a sense of purpose.
Q: What if they're interested, but not sure?
A: You can always encourage them to consider volunteering at the Hawaiian Humane Society. They can walk dogs, groom cats and enjoy the animals, as well as make a difference in the community.
If they eventually choose adoption, the Humane Society waives adoption fees for seniors willing to adopt any cat or dog older than 6.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.