Should My Elderly Parent Adopt a Cat?

Plenty of studies show that when people spend time playing with and petting cats, they can improve their physical and mental health. Unless an elderly person is allergic to cats, owning a pet like that can benefit them in many ways. Even if your aging relative has plenty of support from family and elderly care providers, there’s something wonderful about the bond between a person and their cat.

If you are wondering whether it might be a good idea for your aging mom or dad to adopt a cat, just do some research and see whether such a pairing makes sense for their situation.

Elderly Care in Cascade MI: Should My Elderly Parent Adopt a Cat?

Elderly Care in Cascade MI: Should My Elderly Parent Adopt a Cat?

Cats Boost Physical Health.

Cats are wonderful companions for aging adults and can boost their physical health in numerous ways. When seniors interact with the cats, by playing and petting, they stimulate circulation and promote activity. Seniors can feed and water the cat and use a ribbon or toy to stimulate their pet. Elderly care providers can encourage aging adults to get up and move to interact with their cat to maximize activity. Cat care responsibilities may prompt seniors with conditions like arthritis to move their affected limbs more or encourage stroke victims to interact despite physical limitations.

There are hidden physical benefits that elderly adults gain from owning a pet cat. Petting a cat can actually reduce high blood pressure and alleviate some of the physical symptoms of stress. Elderly adults are often “touch deprived” which means they don’t get much physical interaction like handshakes and hugs. Interacting with a cat can supply seniors with positive touches and affectionate interaction. It’s easy to see how cats can positively affect an elderly person’s physical health.

Cats Boost Emotional Health.

When elderly adults interact with cats, they can experience plenty of positive emotional advantages, too. The loving interaction with a pet cat can reduce many emotional burdens, such as loneliness, grief, and worry. Pet ownership has been shown to reduce the risk of developing anxiety as well as depression.

Elderly adults are often worried about losing their independence or feeling worthless. This is especially true if they are increasingly dependent on family caregivers and elderly care providers. The unconditional love from a cat that really depends on them provides seniors with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. All in all, there are unlimited advantages to an elderly person’s emotional health when they have a cat to love.

Adopt Adult Cats for Seniors.

When it comes to choosing a cat for an elderly adult, experts recommend looking at rescuing adult cats from shelters. Not only are adult cats easier to care for than kittens, they are already litter box trained. Their personalities are also established, so seniors know what to expect.  Adult cats are going to be calmer and more accepting than kittens and will not be as destructive.

With help from family caregivers and elderly care providers, seniors can adopt a cat and develop a loving and beneficial relationship with their new feline friend.

If you or someone you know needs help with elderly care in Cascade, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.

About Dan Gauthier

Dan Gauthier has a long and successful business pedigree. He spent his college years working in the restaurant business and worked in various executive management positions at Universal Forest Products, Inc. over a span of 17 years, and Therm Technology / Family Safety Products for 12 years.

When the recession hit in 2008 Dan was “downsized” from UFP and spent a few years consulting for local companies Amway and Cascade Engineering. During this period Dan’s in-laws were experiencing catastrophic health problems and it required Dan’s wife Marion to focus full time on caregiving for her mother. Marion enlisted help from a local home care agency and it did not go well. This experience led to the creation of Gauthier Family Home Care, a home care agency that is uniquely holistic and family centric. Dan now works full time running GFHC.