10 Reasons Why Pets Are Good for Seniors
Adopting an animal is not for everyone. They cost money, they demand your time, they are noisy, they carry bacteria, they disrupt your sleep, they may destroy your house, and they are mobile trip hazards just waiting to happen.
If the above warnings did not sway your opinion against these furry friends, then you may very well be the ideal candidate to allow a pet into your life. When it comes to seniors specifically, the perks of an animal partner can be even more rewarding, as they bring new meaning into your entire existence. Read the following 10 points to find out more.
Physical activity is necessary for an improved overall quality of life, as it increases mental awareness, lifts the mood, and wards off illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. When your pet requires daily walks, then you have no excuse and you have to go outside, earning those exercise points whether you want to or not. Furthermore, pets have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease
, meaning that these little creatures are literally helping you to live longer!
Loneliness is a major concern for the elderly, so why not fix that hole with the bond of an animal friend? Their love is unconditional, their loyalty is fully committed, and their entire lives revolve around yours. They will never leave your side and are not looking for anything in return except for some affection and care.
3. Reduced Stress
Due to the aforementioned exercise and companionship, it’s no surprise that pet owners report a decreased level of anxiety. Animals give off a sense of appreciation and are happy to engage in physical contact, but these mental health benefits go even deeper than this. Studies have proven that interactions between humans and their pets help lower the stress hormone (cortisol) itself while boosting your serotonin levels too. Thankfully, you don’t need to exclusively rely on pets to live stress-free
, so research other ways to achieve these results if anxiety is a recurring problem.
There are more advantages to your daily pet walks than just exercise, one of which is the inevitable social interactions. A dog by your side will make you seem like a more approachable person, complete with an instant conversation starter for animal lovers who want to chat. Plus, if you enjoy this benefit, you can take it even further by attending pet-related events and joining like-minded groups online.
Sometimes, if someone has no reason to get out of bed in the morning, then they won’t. This will no longer be a problem when a pet is involved, as these animals will wake you up by ordering their first meal of the day. This new responsibility will require some discipline, and you’ll have to build a solid routine to keep everyone happy.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own life, but when the survival of this beautiful animal is completely dependent on your dedication, an element of selflessness will quickly blossom. You will learn to focus your attention and emotions externally, prioritizing your day to take something else into consideration.
Seniors are often considered to be easy targets for crime, which is why a dog adds another much-appreciated layer of security to your safety. These loyal animals are known to protect their owners with their lives (and their sharp teeth!) when there is a threat of an intruder. Even if your puppy isn’t exactly the biggest canine on the block, its bark will work like an alarm system to scare any criminals away.
For those living with disabilities, there are many uniquely trained dogs available who can assist with an extensive array of daily tasks while keeping you out of harm's way. Examples include those who open doors, help you get dressed, get you into your wheelchair, get you across the road, or even fetch your medication while alerting 911 of any unresponsiveness. Simply put, they can save your life.
The therapeutic properties of pets have long been studied and many benefits are now recognized by the medical community. One particularly promising study involved dementia patients
, where the symptoms seemed to be distracted by these cuddly creatures, keeping individuals connected to a more recognizable reality.
10. Increased Fun!
Perhaps the most valuable reason for inviting a pet into your home is the entertainment aspect! You will frequently find yourself laughing at these silly creatures as they chase nothing or attempt to make sense of the human world. Moments like this will introduce a slice of unpredictability into your every day, and they will remind you of what’s truly important in life. Happiness.