Pet ownership can provide many health benefits for older adults. Fur babies offer comfort, purpose, and companionship and can help lower blood pressure. Dogs can also help keep seniors moving more with necessary walks that offer valuable opportunities for socializing with neighbors. But when an older adult is recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery, worrying about care for a beloved pet can impede proper healing and recovery.
According to a recent Hour Detroit article, researchers in Michigan have found that patients who are anxious about care for their pets have more difficulty focusing on their recovery and often leave hospital earlier than advised by their health care team. Because 63 percent of patients who participated in a University of Michigan study said they had trouble finding a reliable person to care for their dog, cats, or other pets, this issue is a concern for health care providers.
With more older adults requiring common surgeries like knee and hip replacements, there is also a growing need to identify patients who need help with pet care and provide more resources. Finding trustworthy and reliable pet sitters is difficult, and can be expensive. Older adults who do not have family or close friends they can rely on to care for pets may make decisions about their own health that worsens outcomes.
By having more resources for patients admitted to hospital to provide temporary pet care, fewer pet owners would be forced to surrender their animals to a shelter where they may be rehomed or euthanized. More hospitals are partnering with animal welfare agencies to help address the problem of pet care for patients and because more than 60 percent of households include companion animals, the need for such alliances is expected to grow.
Read more about collaborations between human and veterinary medicine by following this link to One Health Initiative. Looking for a trustworthy pet sitter? Because pets are less stressed when they can stay in their own home, which also prevents exposure to illnesses from other animals, a licensed and insured pet sitter may offer the most peace of mind for pet owners. Check out Pet Sitters International to learn more and search for a qualified pet sitter in your area.