According to the Institute on Aging, around one third of older adults who live at home live alone. Living on their own can make older adults lonely, which could be bad for their health. In fact, studies have linked loneliness to a decline in mental and physical health.
One way to combat loneliness in your aging relative is to encourage them to adopt a pet. This month is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and there are lots of reasons you should consider helping your aging relative to add a feline friend to their home. Here are just a few.
Adoption Saves Lives
There are a multitude of cats currently residing in shelters in the United States. According to the ASPCA, 3.2 million cats are admitted to shelters each year. 860,000 cats are euthanized each year. When your aging relative adopts a cat from a shelter, they can feel good knowing that they are providing a good home and saving a life.
Having a Pet Improves Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having at least one pet has many health benefits. Pet ownership can lead to:
- Lower blood pressure & cholesterol levels.
- Lessen feelings of loneliness.
- More physical activity.
- Opportunities for social interaction.
Cats Offer Companionship
There are cats with all different kinds of personalities, so there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for any senior. A shelter can help the older adult to find a cat with a personality that matches their needs. Older cats often make excellent companions for older adults since they are usually content to curl up in a lap and be petted. However, if the senior would like a more active companion, a shelter worker can match them up with a more playful feline.
Cats Are Relatively Easy to Care For
When compared to other kinds of pets, cats are fairly easy to care for. Cats don’t require long walks to burn off energy. They can exercise indoors with a few toys. Cats don’t take up much space, either. The only equipment they need is a litter box, food dish, water dish, a scratching post, and a few toys.
If your older adult family member would like to adopt a cat but you’re unsure if they can care for it on their own, homecare can help. Homecare providers can assist the senior to feed and water the cat. They can also clean the litter box. Homecare providers can also drive the older adult to the store to purchase cat food, treats, toys, and litter. Homecare providers can even assist with scheduling veterinary appointments and driving the cat and senior to the vet’s office.