An Emotional Support Animal is a vital companion and can play an important role in healthy aging.
Find meaning and joy in life
As a person ages, they lose the things that used to occupy their time and give their life meaning. A person may leave their career or their children may move far away. Taking care of an Emotional Support Animal can be fun and help boost morale, optimism and self-esteem. If you decide to take an Emotional Support Animal from a shelter, especially an older pet, it can increase your sense of satisfaction knowing that you have given a home to the animal.
Stay in touch
It’s not always easy to maintain a social network as you age. Retirement, illness, death and moving can rob you of close friends and family members. And making new friends becomes increasingly difficult. Emotional Support Animals, especially dogs, are a great way for seniors to strike up a conversation and meet new people.
You can overcome many of the physical problems associated with aging if you take good care of yourself. Dogs, cats and other Emotional Support Animals encourage playfulness, laughter and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.
How Emotional Support Animals Help Adults with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
As part of the disease, Alzheimer’s patients may have a variety of behavioral problems, many of which are related to an inability to cope with stress.
Alzheimer’s patients are less stressed and experience fewer anxiety outbursts if there is a dog or cat in the house. Emotional Support Animals can be a source of positive non-verbal communication. The playful interaction and gentle touch of a well-trained, obedient animal can calm an Alzheimer’s patient and reduce aggressive behavior, as can simply being in brightly colored aquariums or fish tanks.
In many cases, the patient’s problem behavior is a reaction to the stress response of the primary caregiver. Emotional Support Animals can help relieve the stress of their caregivers. Cats or caged animals may be more appropriate than dogs, which usually require more care and may increase the burden on the person already caring for the Alzheimer’s patient.
Get connected with a licensed healthcare professional to obtain an ESA letter