Most people love having a furry companion by their side, to come home to and to love unconditionally. Studies have even found that owning a dog or another pet can have a number of health benefits. This is especially true for seniors.
Here are some of the great things that pets can do for the mental and physical health of seniors…
Provide you with company
For a senior who lives alone, owning a pet can provides some much need companionship. This helps to reduce feelings of loneliness among seniors, which also has a positive effect in terms of reducing the chances of depression. Owning a pet can even increase human interaction because other people are drawn to pets. You might find yourself talking to other dog owners while you’re out on a walk, for example.
Lower blood pressure
Owning a pet, and even stroking someone else’s pet, has actually been found to lower blood pressure. This means that pet owners, in general, have better heart health than seniors without pets. The result is a lower chance of heart attacks and heart disease.
Keep you active
Another heart-healthy benefit is that owning certain kinds of pets helps to keep you active, especially dogs. Since you have to regularly take your dog out for a walk, you’re benefiting from more fresh air and plenty of gentle exercise. Even playing with a cat or a dog around the house can increase your activity levels.
Lower stress and anxiety
Stroking a pet can have instant effects on stress and anxiety levels, and pet owners have been found to have lower levels than non-pet owners. This has both mental and physical benefits, helping to reduce rates of anxiety disorders and depression, while also benefiting your heart and other aspects of your physical health.
Reduce feelings of pain
For seniors who are recovering from an illness or surgery, or who suffer from chronic pain related to arthritis or other conditions, owning a pet can actually reduce feelings of pain. This may be because pets provide a positive distraction, preventing seniors from focusing too much on their pain. As well as improving emotional and physical wellbeing, this benefit can also reduce the amount of pain medication a senior requires.
Do you need any more reasons to go out and get yourself a pet? Just remember to consider the difficulties of pet ownership before you jump into a decision. Pets can be a lot of work, especially younger pets that are likely to be more active. Adopting an older dog or a smaller pet that requires less attention and exercise can be a good idea.
If you’re planning a move into an independent living or assisted living community, then get in touch to find out their policy about moving pets into the premises.