HomeHuman to cat relationshipelderly people health benefitsOwning a Cat is Good for Your Health – Especially for Seniors

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Owning a Cat is Good for Your Health – Especially for Seniors — 1 Comment

  1. ADL stands for “activities of daily living” and is a term used by therapists, especially occupational therapists to talk about the basic, necessary tasks of self care such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, combing/brushing hair, caring for teeth/dentures, and anything else necessary to support a healthy life. I believe that seniors with a pet would have higher FIM scores for most ADL’s (FIM scores measure functional independence) than those without pets. Having to care for someone else can play a vital role in maintaining function. FIM scores also measure gait, and someone who has to walk a dog every day will be more active and will preserve abilities longer than the person who decides he is “too old” for exercise and chooses a more sedentary lifestyle.

    My great grandma was totally independent until her son, who had Down Syndrome, had to go into a home. She went rapidly downhill without the responsibility to care for him. She started just eating candy all the time since she was no longer responsible to cook for him.

    Pets could serve a similar function, providing that connection and responsibility which can stave off dementia for a time. The pet is a vital reason to keep trying to hold onto independence by taking care of yourself. The inevitable comes to us all– but we remain functional, fulfilled and happy a lot longer while we have those who need us and love us close by.

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