How Pets Can Boost the Wellbeing of Seniors
- October 19, 2023
Pets have a fantastic ability to benefit the welfare of older persons. Many breeds of cats and dogs become loyal friends who provide unconditional love. In addition, having a furry friend in the home can help seniors cope with loneliness and brings a renewed sense of purpose. And pets that require walking can also help keep an older adult active.
Of course, choosing the right animal before selecting a pet for a loved person in your care is crucial. For example, a large breed of dog that is highly excitable isn’t going to be a good match for an elderly parent dealing with mobility issues. However, many breeds of dogs and cats have temperaments and behavior ideal for older adults.
This article examines how getting a pet could benefit the well-being of seniors.
The Science Says Pets Benefit Older Adults
The benefits of pets for seniors are well-documented in medical literature. For example, the journal Aging & Mental Health reported that pet ownership is associated with positive mental health outcomes. This was found to be especially true in community-dwelling situations.
Another study published in Frontiers in Public Health found that pets positively impacted older adults’ everyday life during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, scientists discovered that having a pet can fulfill particular emotional and social needs, especially regarding feelings of isolation.
Three Ways Pets Can Boost the Wellbeing of Seniors
Calm and friendly pets have an amazing ability to relieve tension and reduce stress. Studies show that stroking a cat or dog helps release endorphins that boost mood. And because older adults have a new focus, they are less likely to dwell on negative issues.
In the study mentioned earlier, 80 percent of respondents said that pet ownership was associated with stress relief, purpose, love, and support.
1. Pets promote physical fitness
In the study meDogs keep their owners active because they need regular walking. So whether it’s playing fetch in the yard or taking a walk around the block, dogs help their owners stay fit and prevent a sedentary lifestyle. ntioned earlier, 80 percent of respondents said that pet ownership was associated with stress relief, purpose, love, and support.
Being physically active is vital for seniors because it promotes good health, including keeping bones strong and muscles toned. People who engage in regular physical activity also improve their overall fitness levels, reducing the risk of falling and injuries.
2. Pets can help around the house
Even a dog without training as an assistance animal can learn basic commands and tasks. For example, seniors may be able to teach dogs to retrieve things, pick up dropped items, walk right beside them, and close doors. They are also excellent deterrents against anyone considering breaking in.
3. Pets increase social activity and interactions
Owning a pet may lead to new social interactions. For example, dog walkers have great camaraderie, and it’s easy to start conversations with strangers. Also, there are opportunities for further interactions with the vet, pet store owners, and other pet owners.
A pet can provide unconditional love and may improve the happiness, health, and comfort of an older adult. However, before committing to an animal, consider the amount of care and attention needed carefully. Also, ensure that the senior and the animal are a good match.