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6 Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Brittany is the supermom of 5 little box trolls who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics to inform people.

Dogs for Seniors

Dogs for Seniors

6 Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Transitioning into a different lifestyle as you get older can be more challenging than you anticipated. It's common to experience various mental and physical changes during this time. Loneliness can be a significant part of the aging process you don't look forward to. The isolation due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worsens because you don't get to visit with your family. The good news is, although you're isolated, you don't have to be alone. Here's how having a pet can help you get through the tough times.

1. Companionship

Companionship is the primary reason people decide to have pets. Having a pet alleviates depression and loneliness, which is excellent if you are a senior who is dealing with isolation. Pets make great companions for everyone, especially if you have grown children who have moved away or lost their spouse.

2. Help with Mental Illness

Pets are especially great for seniors who have Alzheimer's or dementia. People who have dementia often experience episodes of agitation. Having a pet can help keep you calm. If you don't eat regularly, interacting with your pet can stimulate your appetite.

3. Staying Active

Although you can't leave your home, you can still get exercise by playing with your pet. If you have arthritic arms and hands, petting your companion can help alleviate some symptoms.

Senior Couple with Pet

Senior Couple with Pet

4. Keeping Your Mind Sharp

If you're interested in keeping your mind sharp, look to your pet for help. Your pet is a great source of mental stimulation. Your furry friend boosts the chemical in your brain oxytocin, which is a hormone that makes you happy. Having a pet also reduces your cortisol levels, which causes weight gain and stress.

5. Boosting Your Mood

Everyone has the stress hormone cortisol. Being a pet owner helps reduce cortisol levels while simultaneously boosting serotonin levels, the happiness hormone. Your pet recognizes when you're sad, frustrated, or experiencing other emotions that make you feel anxious or upset. Your pet comforts you and helps alleviate negative thoughts and feelings, which helps improve your overall health.

6. Improving Your Heart Health

Various studies reveal people who have pets have a lesser chance of developing heart disease and lower blood pressure than people who do not own pets. When you have a pet, you are likely to exercise more than you normally do, preventing various diseases.

Senior Woman with Pet

Senior Woman with Pet

Summary of the Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Physical Health

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Releases endorphins
  • Alleviates physical pain
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Calming and relaxation effects

Mental Health

  • Improves mood
  • Decreases depression
  • Lessens feelings of alienation, isolation, and other negative emotions
  • Provides comfort
  • Encourages communication
  • Decreases anxiety

Questions to Ask Before Getting a Senior a Pet

Are You Allergic?

It will be difficult to enjoy your pet if you have allergies. Pet dander causes you to sneeze, have itchy eyes, develop a rash, and experience other symptoms. If you live in a residential establishment, make sure your caregivers do not have a pet dander allergy.

Who Will Help You Care for Your Furry Friend?

Caring for a pet gives you a sense of purpose and responsibility. If you need help caring for your pet, make a list of people who can help. Take your pet's daily needs into consideration as you make your list for your pet's present and future needs, such as walking and feeding.

What Pet Breed Suits You Best?

Companionship is one of the greatest benefits of having a pet, but you need to make sure you and your pet are compatible. If you're interested in a lap dog, you might want to consider a Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and similar dog breeds. It would help if you also considered the grooming needs of your dog. Some dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, and Cocker Spaniels, require frequent grooming, so if you plan on getting one of these dogs, make sure you can handle their recommended grooming schedule.

Adding a furry family member to your family is exciting and rewarding. A pet can be your companion for many years. Use these facts and tips to help you choose your new companion.

10 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2021 Brittany N Rockette

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