Benefits of Seniors Having a Pet
Pet owners of all ages testify to the joy of having furry friends, but when it comes to seniors, the benefits are even greater. Studies add to this assertion, claiming that people over 50 should seriously consider the companionship of a pet. Some of the pets that seniors can consider adopting are dogs, cats, and even parrots as they are low maintenance and communicative.
Pets can relay a number of mental and physical health benefits to seniors who often experience loneliness during this stage of their life.
Let’s talk about 10 benefits of seniors having a pet.
1. Pets Help Reduce Stress
The presence of pets helps mitigate stress that increases with old age. When you retire, you probably have a lot more time to just dwell on your thoughts, which can accelerate stress among elder people.
Approximately three-quarters of seniors reported that their furry friends helped mitigate their stress levels. Stress is a precursor to a host of other conditions like blood pressure and heart disease, so it is important for seniors to keep their stress levels in check with a pet.
2. Pets Help Seniors Stay Active
People above 50 slowly become less active and start leading a sedentary lifestyle. This is not good for their health as inactive lifestyles make them more susceptible to a host of problems. Seniors who are not working or running errands remain confined to their couches, which may make them more prone to obesity and depression as well.
Exercise releases serotonin, the feel-good hormones that improve mood. Pets provide them a perfect way and incentive to exercise or at least stay active. Seniors can take their dogs for a walk for 15 minutes every day to make a remarkable health difference in their lives!
3. Pets Provide Companionship
As kids grow older and grandkids move to college, seniors tend to feel very lonely. This may make them highly vulnerable to depression. While depression is not a normal part of aging, it does become more likely with age due to the isolation that seniors face. If you have a parent above 60, you should consider getting them a pet that will provide them companionship and remove the crippling loneliness they probably feel.
4. Pets Help Seniors Get in Routine
When seniors retire, they lose the will to wake up every day and sleep on time. This disrupted sleep pattern once again makes seniors more vulnerable to depression. Elders hardly have an incentive to go back to their routine, which helps keep their mental sanity in check. Owning a pet that seniors have to feed at certain times of the day will help elders get into a routine. They may not want to get out of bed, but one look at their furry friend’s face and they will surely find the will!
5. Pets Increase Your Outdoor Time
Staying cooped up inside is one of the leading causes of depression and deterioration of mental health. As seniors retire from their job, they hardly feel the need to step out. Exposure to sunlight helps increase vitamin D, which is essential for both your mental and physical health, especially bone pain that becomes more common with age. When you have pets, you will be forced to step outside, whether it is to take them for a walk or dispose of their waste. Therefore, pets are a welcome addition to any senior’s life, increasing their much-needed outdoor time!
6. Pets Make Seniors Feel Needed
If you ask seniors what they fear most, they would probably say feeling unneeded. Most people above the age of 65 start to feel redundant-their kids and grandkids no longer need them as much as they used to, and they have probably retired from their job. This lack of purpose in life can really take a toll on an elderly person’s mental health, which will, in turn, affect their physical health as well. When seniors have pets, they will feel like they are needed and their services are required. The pet will need and yearn for their companionship and seniors will get some responsibility too.
7. Pets Open Avenue for Socialization
With age, your activities decrease. You probably don’t meet friends as much and your kids and grandkids are busy in their own lives. As a human, everyone needs to socialize, but where would an elderly person find the chance to? Keeping pets opens an avenue for seniors to meet new people and make friends. There are several shared activities for pet owners which would allow elders to meet like-minded people who share their age and their interests. After a certain age, you will find it hard to meet new people, but pets serve as the perfect conversation starter!
8. Pets are Therapeutic
Pets like dogs and cats are known to alleviate stress and anxiety, which makes them good for older adults in therapy. In fact, people 65 and older make 30% fewer visits to the doctor as compared to those without pets. Pets are extremely smart and can catch up to words and phrases. Since pets feel like another presence in the house, they are almost therapeutic for seniors who are experiencing trouble with their mental health.
9. Pets Act as Helpers
Some dogs are trained in a way to provide help to seniors who can’t move around as much or bend to pick up things. They also help keep a person safe by alerting neighbors in the event that their owner is sick or something happens to them.
10. Pets Provide Security
Pets, dogs in particular act as great deterrents for thieves and burglars who may be likelier to break into an older person’s house, taking advantage f their limited mobility. Pets offer an added layer of protection to seniors, keeping them and their homes safe.
If you have a loved one who is 50 and older, consider getting them a pet. Pets can provide a number of health benefits for seniors and relieve some of your stress and guilt in case you can’t make time to meet your parents or grandparents every day.
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