No matter what your age, owning a pet can improve your life and your happiness. Research has confirmed this time and time again, through a variety of pet-based studies (source). Seniors, with their unique medical and psychological concerns, are especially impressionable when it comes to the love offered by a friendly dog or cat. Although pet ownership is a great responsibility that should not be taken likely, we can’t deny the benefits of pets for the elderly.
Benefits of Pets for the Elderly
Pets promote physical activity. Everyone knows that pets need exercise, especially active dogs. Owning a dog compels seniors to exercise more often, which can improve their overall health. And while you’re at the park, you may find . . .
Pets increase social interaction. Seniors who are lonely, isolated, or introverted often find that having a pet pushes them to interact with new people. Whether you’re introducing your dog to another pooch at the park or taking your cat to the vet, your social life will certainly surge upward. Plus, your grandchildren will love to play with your pet when they visit!
Pet owners take care of themselves. Sometimes seniors fall into a pattern of bad hygiene and idleness. A pet requires a certain level of care, which tends to rub off on the human owner as well. In maintaining a routine and giving their daily life structure, senior pet owners take better care of themselves and show improved health.
Pet owners feel loved. It is very rare to find a human who will provide you with the unconditional love offered by an affectionate pet. When you come home, they’re happy to see you. When you make a mistake, they forget and move on. When you need to rant, they listen and seem to agree. Pet owners even show greater levels of self-esteem than most.
Pet therapy has positive effects as well. Even if a senior isn’t ready to care for a pet of their own, they can benefit from the simple presence of a dog or cat. In just 15 minutes of bonding with a pet, the brain undergoes a chemical chain reaction in which the heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels drop (source).
Interestingly, researchers have found that the type of pet is not important; the benefits remain regardless. So if you aren’t ready to provide the daily exercise, grooming, and bathroom breaks required by most dogs, consider buying a cat. And if you aren’t ready for the litter box cleanings that come with a cat, consider buying a fish!
Finally, if you’re searching for a pet-friendly assisted living facility in Tennessee, be sure to check out Hearthside Senior Living Place. We welcome pets that fit with in our pet policy plan, which includes approval by the Community Director and a non-refundable pet deposit. To learn about our policies, please check out our FAQ page (scroll down to the “Pets” section). And while you’re at it, why not schedule a tour so that you can discover Hearthside Senior Living Place for yourself? We look forward to hearing from you!