It is often said that a house is not a home without a pet. While seeing your companion’s wagging tail and furry face greet you when you walk in the door is benefit enough, pet ownership also provides a great deal of added health benefits, especially for seniors. Some of the benefits of owning a pet include lower heart rates, reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure, and even improved mood.
While many people who own pets in their later years have a history of prior pet ownership, plenty of seniors discover their love of animal companionship later in life. Let’s dig a little deeper into the biggest senior pet benefits:
Simply having a pet sit next to you can provide a calm and comforting effect, especially in stressful times. In fact, 74% of seniors who own pets have reported that simply touching their pet has made them feel better. This can be extremely helpful considering how common it is for seniors who live alone to become socially isolated, especially after the loss of a spouse or loved one. Having a furry companion can help combat the loneliness and depression that tend to follow these trying life events.
Along with emotional support, seniors with pets can benefit from increased physical health. No matter what type of pet you choose, animals require you to move around. Whether throwing the ball, going on walks, cleaning up their toys, or scooping out the litter box, seniors who own a pet will walk an average of 2.2 more hours a week than those who do not own a pet. Plus, pet ownership has been known to improve cardiovascular health.
Seniors who follow a daily routine can benefit from increased feelings of safety and security, reduced anxiety, and better sleep. Owning a pet can assist seniors with creating and managing a daily schedule. Feeding, grooming, walking and other chores are all tasks that must be done on a daily and/or weekly basis that help provide meaning to your days.
Staying engaged in life is one of the most important parts of aging. Seniors who own pets are overall more invested in life around them, as pets keep them moving, help them make new friends, and give them a feeling of being needed. Having a furry companion provides meaning to your life to keep you going forward.
When choosing a pet, it is important to get a companion that suits your daily lifestyle. Think about mobility, access to veterinary services, existing daily routines, and any type of assistance you’ll need to help in the care for your animal. For example, dogs require a bit more attention and exercise than cats, so if mobility is an issue, a cat may be a better companion.
Today, there are more than 7.6 million animals in shelters nationwide, so if you’re considering getting a furry friend it’s recommended to go the adoption route. Whether it be a puppy or kitten, mature dog or cat, or even a rabbit or bird, the right pet is out there for everyone!
Advent Christian Village encourages members to bring their small furry friends with them when they move. You’ll find a variety of vibrant independent living options and a helpful staff ready to provide a comfortable environment for both you and your pet. We invite you to contact us to schedule a personal, guided tour so you can see all that ACV has to offer.