There are many benefits of sharing your home with a pet, but the comfort pets provide can be especially beneficial for seniors. From specially trained support animals, to sweet, affectionate, shelter dogs, many seniors find great joy, solace, and improved quality of life though pet adoption.
Never Too Old for Puppy Love
Did you know that pets have the power to heal? While they don’t heal us the same way doctors can, and they don’t cure disease, there is evidence suggesting that caring for and loving pets can make us healthier in several ways.
Top 3 Health Benefits of Pet Therapy for the Elderly
While the advantages of owning a pet or being involved with therapy animals are vast, here are three common, widely-accepted benefits.
Lower Blood Pressure
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you might want to consider adopting a cat. Studies show that cat owners with heart issues tend to outlive those who do not have a furry feline companion. A cat purring in your lap is likely to reduce any stress or anxiety you might have.
More Frequent Exercise
When an animal relies on a human, it gives that individual a sense of purpose – but it also gets them out of bed every day and helps keep them off the couch. Dogs need to be walked, cat boxes need to be cleaned, and all pets need food, water, and affection on a regular basis. Sometimes the need to care for someone else – even when that someone else is your labrador retriever – trumps the lack of desire to care for one’s self, leading to improved self care.
The relationship a person develops with a pet is always unique and special unto itself. No matter how feisty or stubborn a cat or dog may be, the interaction with animals and shared bond is a comfort – and having a pet means never feeling completely alone. This isn’t to say having a pet will make medication unnecessary, but snuggling a pet is a great way to increase beneficial dopamine and serotonin levels.
Pet Therapy Options
Even if you are unable to adopt an animal, there are other ways to get access to pet therapy. Animal shelters need to socialize pets and are often willing to work with seniors and senior communities to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. Shelters also need volunteers to come in and help socialize animals. No matter how you prefer to interact with animals, there’s likely an option available for you!
Emotional Support Animals
For those who suffer with PTSD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other mental illness, having the comfort and support of a pet nearby can help stabilize mood and health. To see if your pet qualifies to be an emotional support animal, speak with your doctor. If you don’t have a pet but feel this would be helpful for you, please speak with your doctor or visit your local animal shelter. You never know – a Labradoodle emotional support animal may be just what you need! Another Advantage of Independent Senior Living Being able to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership is just one more reason to consider moving to Plantation Village. Our community is the perfect place for seniors who enjoy sharing their home with their furry friends!