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How Pets Can Help Seniors

By December 31, 2012Aging in Place

Owning a pet is brings with it more than just unconditional love for senior citizens. Owning a pet also brings with it many unexpected benefits like a decrease in stress levels, a drastic decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol and a better state of mind.

 

When an owner pets their cat or plays fetch with their dog, they begin to experience relaxation and a sense of friendship that only animals can provide. Scientists have only recently begun to conduct intensive studies into the complex ways that animals affect human emotion and physiology. Early results of these studies have shown that owning animals provides significant health benefits, and not just for the younger generation. In fact, pets may be one of the key factors that help seniors live longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives.

 

How do animals do it?

 

There are many different reasons that pets can accomplish such remarkable health benefits for seniors. The first reason is that owning a pet requires physical activity. Each pet needs walking, feeding, grooming, bathroom breaks and playtime. All of this daily activity requires action on the part of seniors. Even the smallest task, such as filling a water bowl, benefits the cardiovascular system and keeps joints moving. Consistently performing these small activities for pet care every day can help seniors successfully carry out many other normal daily activities of life.

 

Many of the benefits of pet ownership for seniors are less obvious. For example, pets offer seniors a remarkable source of constant companionship. This is a wonderful reward for those seniors without family or friends living close by. Pets offer seniors a type of support system that they may not otherwise have. Seniors are able to enjoy their pets, who offer a buffer against social isolation. It is a proven fact that seniors often have difficulty leaving their homes, leaving little opportunity for them to meet new friends or socialize with people on a regular basis. Owning a pet can help to combat senior depression, which is one of the most common medical issues facing senior citizens today.

 

Additionally, pet owners have been shown to be more consistently emotionally stable throughout their lives. They have also been proven to be able to remain more calm during times of crisis than those people who do not own pets. It is also proven that the responsibility of caring for an animal provides seniors with
a sense of purpose and a reason for getting up each morning. Pets help to keep seniors in a regular routine. Seniors are more likely to get up happy every morning, look forward to buying groceries and pet food items, go outdoors for walks and to let their pet use the bathroom.

 

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