Survey: Pets affect seniors’ lifestyles

Study shows 82% wouldn’t leave pets for senior home

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 9/3/19

CLAY COUNTY – A pet’s companionship with seniors cannot be overstated, according to local Home Instead Senior Care franchise owner Betsy Miller.

Caregivers interact, walk or care for a pet …

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Survey: Pets affect seniors’ lifestyles

Study shows 82% wouldn’t leave pets for senior home

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – A pet’s companionship with seniors cannot be overstated, according to local Home Instead Senior Care franchise owner Betsy Miller.

Caregivers interact, walk or care for a pet in ways seniors can’t in Home Instead’s national Pets & Seniors program.

Miller said she wanted to educate people about the effect pets have on seniors. About 70% of seniors said their pet determined where they lived and 82% percent said they wouldn’t leave their pet for a senior home, a Home Instead survey said.

Home Instead Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate Lakelyn Hogan said pets became like family for most people.

“For many, their pets provide a source of comfort and help to keep the client at ease or reduce their anxiety,” Hogan said in an agency press release. “Pets also act as a companion and constant friend.”

Animals are a source of affection and assist combating loneliness, Miller said. When seniors can’t take pets to nursing homes, Miller said some family members might not realize pets play an important role in the physical and mental health of seniors.

“It’s about providing our clients an ability to keep and not have to give up their dog. It’s really hard for someone to deal with that on top of maybe a loss of a loved one or leaving their home they’ve lived in for many years,” Miller said. “We’re spreading resources, knowledge and education,” she said. “They have a sense of happiness for a moment. (Seniors) forget about their aches and pains for a bit and smile.”

Miller said the Pets & Seniors service reaches between 200-250 families a year. She runs the franchise, based in Orange Park, with her husband Christian. It serves Baker, Duval and Nassau counties.

“We aren’t the only ones understanding the importance of this. Haven Hospice and Community Hospice & Palliative Care, if someone gets sick, they have volunteers who can take care of dogs until people are available to come home,” Miller said. “There are a lot of people helping seniors with supporting their pet ownership and the importance of how they help bring happiness and joy.”

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