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January 23, 2016

Pets: Perilous or Practical?

Those loveable furry, four-legged friends who make you laugh, comfort you when you're sick and love you unconditionally may also cause you harm.

Although many experts tout the positive influence of a pet (studies show that pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing affection, company, entertainment and a sense of responsibility and purpose; the Centers for Disease Control claims pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and provide an antidote for loneliness), a New York Times article notes that the benefits of pet ownership just might be over rated.

It cites the dangers – among them tripping and falling over pets their toys or their water and food bowls. The Centers for Disease Control One warns that one out of three adults ages 65 or older falls each year (although less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it).

According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in the elderly.(In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized).

While we realize the seriousness of this, we're not suggesting people give up their pets. We know you have a special bond with them – so we've culled a few suggestions to make things safer for seniors who have pets.
Health Day suggests that owners enroll their dogs in obedience training so they won't jump up on you or anyone else, and will listen when told to sit down.

Falls can also be prevented by putting pet toys in an out-of-the way spot and keeping the house as uncluttered as possible. Pet collars that glow at night or have bells also reduce the chances of tripping over a pet. Also, make sure any spills from water bowls are mopped up quickly so the floor is not slippery.

The International Council on Active Aging notes that keeping fit can help reduce the likelihood of falls.
One reason people fall is that they become less coordinated as they age, according to the group's founder founder Colin Milner. "Many of these falls could be preventable if you had better balance," he said. "The number of falls could be reduced with a very simple balance and strength-training program," Milner explained in an article in Health Day.

We also believe personal emergency response systems can help. In the event that something should happen (we've all tripped over something at some point!), emergency services or a neighbor/friend can be reached for you 24 hours a day with just the push of a button.
So, enjoy your pet – but take precautions.

Coverage Area

Our Medical Alert Systems are available in the following states across America: