Having a pet in your home can benefit the whole family in many ways, but as we age, a pet can bring much more to the table than just companionship. Pets can help relieve stress and boredom as well as help provide routines and even exercise to older adults. Here are some of the main benefits of seniors having a pet.
The Mental Benefits of Seniors Having a Pet
As people get older, loneliness can become a creeping problem that can easily lead to other complications like depression, but a pet can be a great help to this as they provide a great source of companionship and a sense of security. No matter the animal, simply not feeling alone can-do wonders and pets are always available for cuddling and friendship. Owning an animal also leads to less stress and an ease in anxieties as well as make your loved one feel “in the moment.”
Pets also force their owners into routines, whether it be merely feeding them or changing litter boxes and taking them on walks. Having a pet is also a way for your loved one to stay independent, just think, people with disabilities rely on pets all the time to help them see, hear and even catch health complications.
Taking care of an animal can allow seniors to be more sociable in many instances and can help them stay connected to the here and now. Bringing pets to the veterinarian, groomers or even the dog park can help your loved one engage in conversation and social interaction.
How Having a Pet Can Help Seniors Physically
Not only can pets help mentally, but they can even help in some physical aspects of life. According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, pets can help reduce pain and increase people’s moods significantly.
Having a pet also increases physical exercise in the pet’s owner, especially if this pet is a dog! A 2016 study concluded that “dog walking was associated with lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.” This study shows us just how valuable a pet can be to our lives and the American Heart Association has even stated that “studies of pet ownership and systemic blood pressure have found an association between pet ownership and lower blood pressure.” Since animals like dogs are so stuck on a routine, your older loved one won’t have to worry about forgetting to exercise either.
While it may take some research to find the perfect companion for your loved one, once one is found, you and your senior will see the many benefits a pet can help produce so your loved one can lead a happier, healthier and longer life. If you are unsure if your loved one can handle a furry companion or what they may need to help them feel full of life again give us a call. MIR Senior Care Management & Care Consultants is committed to providing support for caregivers every step of the way.