Posted on Jan 9, 2020 in Senior Tips
Dogs have a longstanding reputation as man’s best friend, but many other pets for seniors can be beneficial, too.
Almost 30% of American seniors who live in a community live alone. For these 15 million older adults, owning a pet can be a precious injection of fun and company. Pets are wonderful additions-they provide warmth and joy to their owners.
So, we’ll get right down to business and explore some of the many benefits of pets for seniors today.
For seniors, owning pets can help in the following areas:
For seniors struggling with health issues, bereavement, and all the other bugbears of old age, it’s easy to become anxious, stressed, or even depressed.
As mentioned above, roughly one-third of seniors outside of senior living communities live alone. For these potentially lonely older adults, the presence of a pet can help alleviate anxiety, ward off depression, and drive away stress.
Playing with or petting an animal can decrease production of cortisol (the stress hormone) while simultaneously boosting oxytocin (the stress-reducing hormone).
As the old adage goes, laughter is the best medicine for any health issues.
One study showed that pet ownership can bring down blood pressure responses to stress. With BP at normal levels, the chance of heart attack or stroke is lessened.
Another study showed that pet owners who suffered a heart attack have better odds of living another year.
Linked to overall heart health, the next benefit of owning a pet for seniors concerns mobility, something that can help keep the heart strong and the blood pumping through your whole body…
Walking outside with a dog is a great way to keep seniors active with some simple, healthy exercise.
An inbuilt advantage of walking a dog is the opportunity for seniors to meet and chat with other people on their morning stroll. Even if it’s just saying hi or passing the time of day with neighbors, it’s a nice and easy way to promote a little socializing into a senior’s day.
Animals at home can give seniors a great deal of comfort and happiness.
Stroking a dog can release stress-reducing hormones while also ensuring that serotonin levels are regulated. Serotonin can help regulate mood while also helping with appetite, sleep, and memory. All of these areas are vital for the overall health of seniors.
Animals reciprocate the loving care that their owners give. This can help to ease the loneliness seniors can encounter as they advance in life which in turn can stop seniors from feeling sad.
Seniors with pets can even use their animals as a sounding board. By venting their worries to their animal, they can avoid troubling friends or family while still getting things off their chests.
The Pets for The Elderly Foundation claim that 21% of seniors with pets make fewer visits to the doctor.
Why is this?
Well, not only can owning a pet deliver all the above health benefits, but having a dog that needs regularly walking keeps seniors active and productive, too.
We’ll return to the point we kicked off with regarding so many seniors living alone. Investing in a guard dog can help the elderly to feel much more secure in their own homes.
The benefits of pet ownership for seniors are largely personal but the above are just some of the commonplace advantages reported by older adults owning pets.
We’ll round out with a few quick words on choosing the right pet for a senior.
Here are a few pointers to take into account if you’re tasked with helping an elderly loved one choose a pet.
Pets for seniors are a great addition to one’s life, but maybe your elderly loved one is struggling with day-to-day living that they would benefit from an assisted living facility. We’re proud of the five senior living communities we have so get in touch and arrange a free tour of the nearest Landmark senior living community. If pets for seniors doesn’t do the trick, a great new environment might be just what your loved one needs!