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In today’s modern and tech-savvy world, more and more people are embracing technology, seniors included. Close to 70 percent of the elderly are now connected to the internet. Undeniably, technology for seniors is growing in popularity and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Nowadays, tech devices have become an integral part of the daily life of most seniors. These ingenious technologies have allowed them to move around, connect with loved ones, and live healthier, fulfilling, and more connected lives.

Invaluable Tech Solutions for Seniors

From managing medications and sleep to assistance with day-to-day life, here are some of the most innovative technologies that have made life easier for seniors:

A photo of a phone, headphones, and a watch.

Hero Digital Pill Dispenser

Hero digital pill dispenser is designed to dispense a senior’s medication at a scheduled time each day. The Hero digital pill dispenser can hold up to 10 different kinds of pills of various shapes and sizes. It can also be tailored to any medication schedule.

The digital pill dispenser can store up to 90 days of medication supply, depending on the pill’s size. This digital pill dispenser is also connected to the Hero app, which tracks the pills’ consumption and doses.

The Hero digital pill dispenser won’t accept half pills, gummies, and sticky dissoluble pills to avoid contamination.

Additional Features

  • 30-day free trial
  • Password protected
  • HIPAA-compliant security for all data
  • Free shipping and returns
  • Notifications (when medication is low)
  • Free software update

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

This smart and compact speaker has many senior-friendly abilities and features. Apart from being voice-activated, it is also small, so they can take it anywhere. This imaginative device can also be used to:

  • Stream music
  • Play games
  • Check the weather
  • Receive news updates
  • Set alarms for medications
  • Chat
  • Create grocery lists

When set up to guard the home, this additional feature included in the Alexa app provides seniors alerts about smoke alarms, broken glass, and carbon monoxide.

Additional Features

  • Hands-free calls
  • Privacy Protection
  • Voice control (turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors)

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones

If your senior loved one has hearing loss, the COWIN E7 can be a great option. Its advanced active noise reduction technology is designed to cancel lower frequencies. This gives them the ultimate listening experience when they listen to their favorite music or podcasts or watching their favorite movies.

COWIN E7 also comes with Bluetooth technology that makes hands-free listening possible.

Additional Features

  • 30-hour battery life
  • High-quality built-in microphone
  • 90 degrees swiveling ear cups
  • Professional padding
Elderly woman wearing headphones and using a cell phone

GrandPad

This easy-to-use tablet is designed primarily for seniors and comes with built-in wireless data. It allows them to listen to music, video chat with their loved ones, and play games with the utmost ease.

This breakthrough technology also allows seniors access to their own private family network where approved friends and loved ones can update contact information and add photos.

The GrandPad is also a practical gift for seniors who are not tech-savvy since it won’t require passwords and won’t need any modem.

Additional Features

  • Unlimited support team access
  • Safe from spams and scams
  • Has enlarged text for easy reading
  • Sends voice-automated emails

Tile Sticker

Seniors who always lose everyday items would sure love Tile Sticker. Tile Sticker is placed on wallets, keys, remotes, and other things that can easily be misplaced. When seniors need to find their lost items, they need to use the company’s app on their phones to locate them.

The Tile Sticker has a Pro version that’s recommended for valuable items. It comes with a Bluetooth range of 400 feet.

Additional Features

  • 3-year battery life
  • Free shipping
  • 30-day guarantee
  • Waterproof

Fitbit Versa 2

The Fitbit Versa 2 is a health manager and versatile watch rolled into one. It comes with a heart-rate tracker and provides easy access to information and apps. You can also use it to listen to unlimited music on Spotify, track the weather, and set alarms. What’s even impressive? They can use it to pay the bills while on the go.

Additional Features

  • Personalized clock face
  • Fitbit pay
  • Sleep tracker
  • 24/7 heart rate tracking
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa

Ring Video Doorbell

Ring designs doorbell camera systems that provide notifications to smartphones in real-time when motion sensors are triggered or when visitors ring the doorbell. This product will not only help ensure their safety, it can also help make life easy for seniors.

With the Ring Video Doorbell, they can speak to visitors anytime and anywhere. The device can also be used to monitor the doors around the home. Custom motion settings can be set. Safety and crime alerts can also be sent directly to a smartphone.

Additional Features

  • Advanced motion settings
  • 1080 HD video and two-way talk
  • Night vision

Conclusion

It is reassuring to know that many innovative technologies are now available to help make life easy for seniors. While some technologies require some getting used to, they are a massive step in the right direction for improving their quality of life.

Melissa Andrews - Paradise Living Centers

About the Author

Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.

Aspen Senior Care is pleased to announce that we have received the 2021 Best of Home Care ® – Provider of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse. The Provider of Choice Award is granted only to the top-ranking home care providers, based on client satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse, an independent satisfaction research firm for home care. Aspen Senior Care is now ranked among a select few home care providers across the country who have proven their ability to provide outstanding care. Aspen Senior Care is also the only provider to receive this prestigious award in Utah County!

“We’re excited to congratulate Aspen Senior Care for their well-deserved achievement on earning the Best of Home Care ® – Provider of Choice Award. It’s wonderful to see the hard work that Aspen Senior Care is putting in to provide high-quality care and employment – and their effort isn’t going unnoticed. This award allows them to provide proof of quality to potential new clients and caregivers.”

— Erik Madsen, CEO of Home Care Pulse.

Best of Home Care ® – Provider of Choice award-winning providers have contracted with Home Care Pulse to gather feedback from their clients by conducting live phone interviews with their clients each month. Because Home Care Pulse is a third-party company, it is able to collect honest and unbiased feedback.

“This is not an easy award to win, but it shows our dedication to our caregivers and our senior clients,” says Susan Johnson, Relations Manager of Aspen Senior Care. “It also shows our willingness to be transparent in all that we do. We credit our wonderful team of professional caregivers who share our passion for helping seniors in Utah live comfortably and independently in their own homes.”

“At Home Care Pulse, our mission is to help home care businesses create an experience that goes beyond client and caregiver expectations,” says Erik Madsen, CEO of Home Care Pulse. “We are happy to recognize Aspen Senior Care as a Best of Home Care ® – Provider of Choice and to celebrate their accomplishments as a trusted home care provider.”

About Aspen Senior Care

It all started in 2004 when Gary finally figured out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He’d been searching for two years looking to start his own business — something that would do good in the community, be fulfilling, and provide a service he could be passionate about every day. Senior care fits the bill!

Gary is a people person and loves to get to know people from all walks of life. He’s also a big family guy and loves his wife and kids and his big extended family. He knew senior care was definitely his thing as soon as he came across it.  After researching the market, he decided to join The Senior’s Choice network and start Aspen Senior Care in 2004.

Since then, he’s focused on finding top-notch caregivers first and foremost. If he trusts them to take good care of his parents, then he knows he can trust them to take good care of yours. He grew his office staff by promoting great caregivers as Aspen has grown over the years. It’s been a great formula and one that continues to be successful to this day. As Gary looks back, he says he has no regrets, just a lot of gratitude.

To find out more about Aspen Senior Care’s commitment to excellence, please call 801-224-5910.

About Home Care Pulse

Home Care Pulse is the industry’s leading firm in satisfaction research, quality assurance, and caregiver training. On behalf of home care businesses across North America, Home Care Pulse gathers unbiased satisfaction ratings from clients and caregivers and detailed feedback to ensure the best in-home care possible can be provided. Powerful online reports allow businesses to identify needs and take action to reduce increase satisfaction, reduce caregiver turnover, and address client needs. Home Care Pulse combines detailed client/caregiver insights with top-rated caregiver training through In The Know. Please call Home Care Pulse at (877) 307-8573 or visit homecarepulse.com.

Debbie Booth with Adult Protective Services (Utah) provides our caregivers with training on the Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults.

What does “abuse” mean? Abuse can refer to any situation in which someone who has more power hurts someone with less power. It may include:

  • Verbal Abuse — saying mean or cruel things to you.
  • Physical Abuse — hurting you intentionally.
  • Emotional Abuse — hurting your feelings intentionally, scaring you, or deliberately making you feel guilty about matters you cannot control.
  • Sexual Abuse — inappropriate touching or speaking about sexual matters.
  • Neglect — withholding things that you need (inappropriately) or refusing to take you to the doctor when you need to go.
  • Exploitation — taking advantage of you, your money or belongings.

It is important to know that reporting elder abuse in Utah is mandatory. You can describe and report the current situation of Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, or Self Neglect and choose to remain anonymous if you desire. 

Watch the video to learn more about how to be aware of cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Please Note: This training contains images of sensitive content pertaining to the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. If you do not prefer to view this content, please reach out to the office for other training material at 801-224-5910.

Reach out to Debbie Booth at debooth@utah.gov with any questions. All reports of abuse will be considered serious and investigated to the fullest extent.

Adult Protective Services (APS)
Salt Lake County — 801-583-3567
Statewide — 1-800-371-7897
Web — daas.utah.gov

By: Dr. Jessica Peterson, Au.D CCC-A
Founder and Owner of Audiology Consults LLC — www.audiologyconsults.com

Hearing health can be difficult to understand and manage.  In today’s world, there are many venues to receive hearing health care. Technology can also differ greatly due to an increasing number of hearing aid varieties. As a clinical audiologist, I educate my patients about maintaining their hearing devices and how to maintain their overall hearing health.  Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and your ears all need routine care.  Your daily communication will be greatly improved if you take the time to understand both the technology you are using and how to manage your hearing loss.

1. Routine Hearing Test

Hearing testing should be done routinely.  The majority of hearing loss occurs gradually.  It can be difficult to perceive if a hearing loss has occurred to even the most discerning patient.  Having a baseline hearing test, followed by further testing will ensure that small changes are detected early.  Early detection of hearing loss is important. Studies show that early treatment of hearing loss will significantly improve outcomes. Hearing aids will benefit you even with a mild hearing loss.  Our ears are the gateway to our auditory cortex.  The auditory cortex is the part of the brain that makes sense of the sounds around us.  The auditory cortex is similar to a muscle, and just like your muscles would shrink if you decided to not lift weights, the function of your auditory cortex will decrease function if the sound stimulus is decreased.  Even a mild hearing loss will start to change the way the brain reacts to sound, and if you delay treatment too long regaining the same function will be more difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve.

Some signs that your hearing may have changed:

  • You are asking people to repeat themselves more than before.
  • You have been feeling like people mumble when they speak.
  • Your television has to be increased in volume for you to hear it well.
  • It is more difficult to hear in background noise than it used to be.

2. Technology Management

If you have hearing loss and are wearing technology such as hearing aids or a cochlear implant, routine maintenance is essential.  It is possible that your hearing may change over time and the devices may need to be adjusted.  In addition, Hearing aids are small electronic devices that sit in your ear where there is sweat and wax.  To ensure they are functioning properly, it is important to have them professionally cleaned from time to time and to have your ears looked at to ensure the skin inside remains healthy and that no wax blockages are occurring.

Photo by Mark Paton on Unsplash
Photo by Mark Paton on Unsplash

3. Communication Strategies

Hearing aides are one part of an effective communication plan.  Another important part of communication is relying on other visual cues like facial expressions and body language.  When tested, most people perform better when they are able to watch the speaker’s face.  Although you may not be conscious of it, seeing a speaker’s face will help you understand what they say, even when you did not clearly hear what they said.   

Background noise is troublesome for speech comprehension because the signal is difficult to detect.  Picture deer on an empty hillside.  With no other objects, it is easy to see.  Now picture the same hillside but with several trees and bushes around the deer.  The task of finding the deer in the trees is more difficult than finding the deer on the empty hillside.  Our ears have the same problem.  When background noise is present it is harder for our ears to focus on the speech we care about.  It takes more work for us to understand speech in the midst of background noise.  Because the task takes more work, it will create auditory fatigue.  Many people experience auditory fatigue but with even a mild hearing loss, the task of listening is more difficult, and auditory fatigue may happen more quickly.  

These are some rules that you can incorporate into your communication routines to give yourself every advantage for communication.  While these things may seem like common sense, they are easy to forget.

Communication Strategies:

  • The speaker should have your full attention before launching into a lengthy speech.
  • Face the speaker so that you have access to visual cues.
  • Make sure you are in the same room with the person you are talking to.
  • Try to dedicate yourself to listening, multi-tasking can make understanding more difficult
  • Reduce background noise when possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat or rephrase if you didn’t understand.

4. Hearing Health Education

Fully understanding your hearing loss, your hearing test, how to make a communication plan, hearing aid technology, and the hearing aid process is essential to making sure you are getting the most out of your hearing.  A frequent misunderstanding is that hearing aids only will fix hearing loss.  Hearing loss is complex and requires technology in conjunction with deliberate communication strategies

It is important for the patient, their family, their caregivers, friends, and others to understand how to navigate communication.  Many audiologists and hearing instrument specialists are excellent at providing patient education but are limited by appointment times. Due to the lack of easily accessible education on hearing loss I have created an online course that walks you through all of these topics in depth.  If you would like to learn more about hearing loss, hearing aids, communication strategies, the process for managing hearing loss and more, I would encourage you to join me in my course.  You can find the course at www.audiologyconsults.com.  You may also contact me  there if you would like to connect or have questions.

Trifocal lenses improve distant, intermediate, and nearby sight issues. You might be aware of the far and near sight issues and their relevant corrections. But the intermediate vision, too, is essential for most of our everyday tasks. To cater to all three, trifocal, as the name suggests, consists of three separate lenses that re-establish a complete vision range. 

Ideally, trifocal lenses work for people over the age of forty who are suffering from existing conditions or have developed presbyopia due to age. They are made up of an anti-reflective layer to promote the comfort of thoroughly clear eyesight. The coating provides better vision in low-light situations. 

Whether you are finding a good solution for yourself or a senior loved one, a local eye doctor will be able to help you understand if a trifocal lens is a suitable option. 

Advantages of Trifocal Lenses

These multi-purpose lenses have a range of benefits:

  • These are three-in-one correction lenses saving you from the hassle of managing multiple glasses. 
  •  Enable a broader viewing area in case of nearer vision. That makes it easier to use a screen or read with reduced strain on the eyes in case of dimmed surround lights. 
  • From the beginning, you will experience enhanced visibility and brightness in the colors around you. 
  • Trifocal glasses offer you the ability to see adequately in all kinds of lighting conditions, including dim lighting, bright lights, low light, and even daylight.
  • Another significant aspect is that you will endure fewer glares from bright lights, which will make driving at night easier for a lot of people. 

Disadvantages of Trifocal Lens

As is the usual practice, here I am presenting the other side of the story as well for better perception:

  • Since trifocal lenses correct multiple sight problems simultaneously, you might experience some visibility issues when seeing through another section of your glasses.
  • The trifocal lens within the case of cataract IOL might cause reactions such as blurred sight or intolerable glare because of the presence of the implant.
  • Unlike progressive lenses, there is no possibility of customizing these glasses. 

How to use them?

It is essential to note that the trifocal lenses are easy to use. Below are some of the measures you can take to make the transition convenient:

  • Learn the proper technique of using your new glasses from your optometrist and make sure they fit you well. 
  • They should be well adjusted on your nose to avoid slipping, and for you see through them appropriately.
  • Always ensure that you continue looking in front and not downwards when walking. That will avoid vision distortions due to the glasses.
  • When reading something, it should be held at a convenient distance for you to be able to read it properly without much strain.

Can anyone use trifocal glasses? 

Although they can overcome a variety of visibility issues, trifocal do have their limitations. In patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), advanced glaucoma, diabetes, and cataracts, the trifocal lenses are not a suitable solution.

The ideal candidates for trifocal lenses are people over forty who are suffering from presbyopia that prompts them to need to change or begin their eyeglass prescriptions. Trifocal glasses can restore enhanced visibility in all ranges and can be chosen as an alternative to avoid correction surgeries. 

If so far, you have been able to figure out that you need trifocal glasses, you can go a step further by visiting an eye doctor in your local area. They will be able to understand your prevalent eye ailments and then prescribe the most suitable lens options for you. Remember, trifocal glasses and contacts ensure a close-up, intermediate, and faraway view. 

Aaron Barriga

Author Bio:

Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center, eye care center, Fresno. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.

We would be honored if you joined Team Aspen Senior Care for the 2020 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s! Every single individual makes a difference in raising awareness and every dollar raised brings us one step closer to finding a cure. 

The world may look a little different right now, but one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to ending Alzheimer’s. This year, Walk to End Alzheimer’s is everywhere — on every sidewalk, track, and trail. Your health and safety are our top priorities. This year’s event won’t be a large in-person gathering — instead, we invite you to walk in small teams of friends and family while others in your community do the same. Because we are all still walking and fundraising for the same thing: a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. 

You can still engage with the larger Walk to End Alzheimer’s community on Walk Mainstage, the event’s online, interactive experience. You can log in any time to:

  •         Add a photo to the Promise Garden photo mosaic
  •         Connect with other participants, National teams, and sponsors
  •         Learn about Association resources
  •         Hear from monthly guest speakers
  •         Log in on Walk day to watch your local Opening and Promise Garden Ceremony

Visit Mainstage now and watch the welcome video to learn more

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the largest Alzheimer’s Association fundraising event of the year and is designed to help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research. Participants sign up and create teams to walk and fundraise together.  We would love you to join our team and support our goal of *raising $500 towards this great cause. Signing up for a team is free — so join Team Aspen Senior Care today!


*Check donations should be made out to the Alzheimer’s Association. You can mail a check to the Alzheimer’s Association along with the form available on our fundraising page, or send your check donation to Aspen Senior Care (1385 740 E, Orem, UT 84097) and we can deposit it directly to the Alzheimer’s Association through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app.

For most of us, aging comes with increased health issues, thoughts of our own mortality and sometimes watching the ones we love—friends and family—pass away. It becomes very easy to fall into depression and depression can lead to a variety of physical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. That’s where the power of positive thinking comes in. Positive thoughts condition our brain to think positively and our body follows the command of our brain.

For older seniors a caregiver plays an important role in maintaining positive thoughts and healthy aging. Caregivers are trained to watch for warning signs of depression like loss of interest in daily activities and restlessness. With careful observation, caregivers can help to stave off depression by offering companionship and promoting fun, happy, activities like gardening and dancing or offering transportation to social events and church.

Here are some tips to maintain a positive frame of mind—for both caregivers and their charges:

  • Cultivate enthusiasm. Do your best to be happy and not to indulge in negative thoughts. The glass can be half full or half empty—it’s always the same glass. 
  • Keep a sense of humor. Perhaps more than any other strategy, finding something to laugh about is an effective buffer for the difficulties we face in life.
  • Show gratitude. Everyday find something to be grateful for. The shoes on your feet. The food on your plate. The flowers in your garden.
  • Be compassionate. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Understanding leads to acceptance.
  • Be flexible. Understanding that things are not always going to go the way you would like and being comfortable changing course is a life skill worth practicing.
  • Have faith. Whether it be a belief in a force beyond yourself or the belief in the best possible outcome for a situation, maintaining faith in things beyond your control is crucial to a positive outlook.
  • Dream. Engage in “imagineering.” Set a goal. Aim high.
  • Learn from mistakes. If we approach life as an opportunity to learn and grow, even negative experiences provide a positive take-away.
  • Take joy in helping others. Helping others and touching lives can be a huge source of satisfaction in our lives. Knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life can bring nothing but positive thoughts.
  • Cultivate acceptance. Work to accept adversity and disappointments—they are an inevitable part of our journey. If you can overcome and accept what you cannot change you will emerge the stronger for it.
  • Think “love” first. Develop a loving and forgiving attitude to everyone around you. It will come back to you ten-fold.
 — Written by Caren Parnes for The Senior’s Choice
Aspen Senior Care is a proud member of the Senior’s Choice Network

It’s summertime! This season brings fun outdoor activities and beautiful — but hot — weather. Did you know the senior community is often more prone to the effects of heat and therefore at a greater risk for dehydration? Now is a good time to focus on helping our elderly loved ones stay safe, healthy, and hydrated through the elevated summer heat. 

Causes of dehydration

Dehydration happens when the body does not receive or retain the adequate amount of fluid needed to function properly. If not treated properly, dehydration can cause severe health issues. Common causes include:

  • Intense summer heat
  • Strenuous activity
  • Medications or diuretics 
  • Drinks which contain caffeine or alcohol
  • Illness which cause fever, vomiting, or diarrhea

What should you look for?

Common warning signs of dehydration may include the following: 

  • Thirst
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry skin and/or poor skin elasticity
  • Not urinating frequently or dark urine

What you can do to help seniors stay hydrated?

  • Always check with a doctor to make sure your loved one is getting the right amount of fluids for their individual health needs.
  • Create a set fluid intake schedule. If necessary, set timers to help remind your loved one to drink fluids throughout the day. Try to decrease fluids that are high in caffeine or sugar. 
  • Offer sufficient fluids at every meal. This can also include fruits and vegetables with high water content such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers. 
  • Keep water within easy reach of chairs and beds.
  • Check urine to ensure it is light in color. 
  • Offer a full glass of fluid with medication. 
  • Monitor skin elasticity each day. 
  • Monitor the environment. Close blinds and windows to reduce indoor heat, and make sure the air conditioning is on a set schedule and working well. If outdoors, make sure there is a cool, shady place to sit. 

It is important to recognize the causes and symptoms of dehydration and know ways to help your elderly loved one stay hydrated. And don’t forget to utilize these tips for your own health as well. After all, you both deserve to have a healthy and happy summer! For more caregiving tips and information, visit our blog.

Aspen Senior Care was chosen as The Best of Utah Valley in the Home Health Care category. The Best in Utah Valley competition is held each spring by the Daily Herald. Readers choose and vote on their favorite local businesses, services, and products in Utah County.  The Daily Herald counts the votes to determine the top three in each category and the rest is history!

Aspen Senior Care has been serving seniors in Utah Valley for over 16 years. We are a personal care agency helping seniors with all their non-medical needs in the comfort and safety of their own homes. We work closely with several great home health and hospice agencies as well as other professionals serving the needs of seniors. 

Our mission statement is very simple:

“Our mission is to help seniors in Utah live comfortably and independently in their own homes for as long as possible.”

We accomplish this by providing Utah’s finest and most reliable and personalized in-home care. Our care and business practices are based on strong family values and the highest ethical standards. We perform all senior care services with professionalism and dignity and treat all seniors like family.

Our award-winning team specializes in assisting seniors in their homes by providing caregivers you can trust. Some seniors just need a few hours a week and others need a lot more. We do it all and tailor our services to meet the unique needs of each of our clients. We also provide peace of mind to their family members. We believe that there’s no better place to be than in the comfort and safety of your own home.

We help with:

  • Personal care
  • Dementia care
  • Companionship
  • Respite care for family 
  • Medication reminders
  • Transportation and errands
  • 24-hour care and holidays
  • Showering assistance and hygiene care
  • Light housekeeping and meal preparation
  • Senior Day Care through our sister company, Aspen Senior Day Center

Aspen Senior Care is a locally owned company with roots deep in Utah. With years of experience assisting seniors in our community, our staff provides quality care and enjoyable daily experiences. You can trust our staff to take great care of your loved one. 

To find out more about Aspen Senior Care’s commitment to excellence, please visit AspenSeniorCare.com or call 801-224-5910.

For many older adults, mobility limitations, health issues and low energy can keep them from the social engagement they once enjoyed. Especially in seniors who live alone, social isolation can lead to loneliness, depression and poor physical health. Pet therapy has been shown to benefit seniors by improving depression and anxiety symptoms, increasing self-care, and even improving heart-health. It turns out giving and receiving unconditional love is literally good for your heart.

Proven Benefits of Pet Companionship

The Pets for the Elderly Foundation, a nationwide charity committed to connecting seniors with therapy animals, has collected research on pet therapy for seniors. These studies discuss the physiological and psychological impact of animals on seniors’ quality of life. Here are their findings:

Physical Benefits

Heart Health—Frequent interaction with a pet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Improved Activity—Walking, grooming or playing with a pet increases the frequency of physical activity and exercise, which in turn has countless health benefits.

Healthy Behavior—Those who own a pet tend to take better care of themselves. Caring for a pet helps to develop a routine, encouraging owners to eat regularly or complete chores and other tasks.

Social & Emotional Benefits

Increased Interaction—Walking a dog gets senior owners out of the house and increases their opportunities to socialize with neighbors.

Decreased Loneliness—Pets provide companionship, giving isolated seniors a source for affection, conversation and activity.

Stress Relief—Being with a pet increases levels of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone that relieves stress. It also provides physical contact, which helps to calm anxiety.

Better Self-Esteem —For seniors discouraged by their age, appearance or limited abilities, pets are welcome company, reminding seniors that they are still capable of being loved and needed.

Sense of Purpose—The company of an animal provides a reason to get up in the morning. Pets combat depression symptoms by eliminating feelings of worthlessness or helplessness. Knowing that they are loved and needed enhances seniors’ mental health.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet

If you think your loved one would benefit from owning a pet, ask yourself these questions to help you make a wise decision:

What is the best choice for a pet? If your loved one has trouble walking or is more limited in their ability to provide constant attention to a pet, a cat might be a better choice than a dog.

Is my loved one an experienced pet owner?

Taking on the responsibilities of owning a pet could be overwhelming for a senior who has never had one before.

Photo by Snapwire from Pexels

Are finances an issue? Consider your loved one’s financial situation. Animal care can be expensive, and if your loved one is on a fixed income, owning a pet could cause financial burdens. Assess the costs before you commit.

Choose the right pet. Do your research to find a pet whose age, size, personality and energy level fit well with your loved one’s.

Could I adopt an animal in need? Older animals in shelters have a lower adoption rate than puppies or kittens and have a greater risk of being euthanized. Adopting an adult, healthy pet for your loved one can eliminates the stress of training, match your loved one’s energy level and save the life of a loving animal.

By Caren Parnes

For the Senior’s Choice