Concerned about how to take care of a pet as you or your loved ones age in place? Are you wondering if adopting a pet as you or loved ones thrive in place is a good idea?

This guide from the National Council for Aging Care will help you decide on the best choice for you or your loved ones.

Studies show that owning a pet can be both physically and mentally beneficial for anyone of any age. In the case of seniors, even 15 minutes a day of bonding with a pet releases a chemical chain reaction in the brain. It lowers levels of cortisol while increasing production of serotonin. As a result, your heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels decreases. So over time, the interactions you have with a pet can reduce cholesterol levels, fight depression and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Here are five other reasons to consider getting a pet:

  Relieves anxiety and calms you

  Provides companionship, minimizing any feelings of loneliness

  Offers daily exercise

  Gives you purpose and meaning in life because you are caring for something else

  Helps you stay social, whether you bring your pet to the vet, groomers, meet-ups or just walks in the park

This Aging Care article advises you or your loved ones to ask these important questions before purchasing a pet:

  •  Are you set in your ways? If you don't like change, you may not be a good candidate as a pet owner.

  •  Have you had a pet before? While it’s not a requirement, it does help if you or a loved one is an experienced pet owner.

  •  Do you have disabilities? Dogs can be wonderful companions who encourage a senior with no major physical limitations to walk and interact with others. However, those who are physically challenged, cats often need less care than dogs. A small dog that's paper-trained or an indoor bird might be another option.

  •  Do you need a therapy pet? If you’re very infirm or impaired, you may be a candidate for an assistance or therapy dog to help you function or interact better.

  •  Is the pet the right age? A puppy or kitten may not be the best choice for seniors because of the amount of care they require. A young pet may also outlive its owner. Birds especially have long life spans. Yet, it's also important that the pet isn't too old since it may start to have physical limitations and get sick.

  •  Is the pet healthy? It's important that your pet is examined by a professional before you make the final purchase. Some pets carry diseases which can compromise a weak immune system.

  •  Are finances an issue? Finally, pets cost money. A small puppy can cost over $800 its first year for food, medical care, toys and grooming while a fish is less expensive—about $235, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If the pet becomes sick, then it becomes even more expensive.

Of course, owning a pet while aging in place is not for everyone. Ask your veterinarian, family members, and physician if this is a good decision for you and your health. If you are healthy enough or your caregiver is willing to help care for a pet, owning a pet could be the best medicine and your new best friend, all in one package.

Are you thinking of renovating or making some simple changes to your bathroom to make it more accessible? Let us help. Village Craftsmen offers a THRIVE Bathroom Design Safety Program to not only help you age in place, but thrive in place.  An in-home, experienced rehabilitation technician will:

* LISTEN to your concerns regarding bathroom safety

* ASSESS your bathroom with the Thrive Safety Protocol

* PROVIDE you with recommendations for your safety & fall prevention

* ARRANGE for a quote to install safety enhancements if you desire

To learn more please complete the form on this page or call 330-896-2000.