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Cats, dogs provide multitude of benefits to elderly

Home caregivers may worry about whether an ailing senior can still take care of a beloved pet, but before making a decision on what to do with the animal, they should consider the many ways in which pets can improve the health of the elderly.

The Journal of American Geriatrics reported that there is more and more evidence each day that having a relationship with an animal can benefit the emotional and physical health of seniors, Florida Today reports. Seniors who can be active may reap the physical rewards of having a dog that needs to be walked, while a more limited senior can easily care for a cat, which can help combat depression and loneliness.

However, pets can also be hazardous by causing falls or injuries to seniors who truly are not able to care for them any longer, the news source reports. Dr. Annie Price, owner of Ormewood Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, told GlobalAnimal.org that the last option should be to take the pet away from the senior. If the health of the pet or the senior is at risk, caregivers should instead consider hiring a pet sitter or elderly companion to spend time with the pet or the senior.