There are many health benefits to owning a pet, especially for those who may be a bit older. Pet therapy for the elderly can be a way for older people to have companionship as well as keeping them happy and healthy. Owning a pet can have benefits that are both emotional and physical.
Health Benefits Associated with Pet Therapy
For many people, pets are a loving companion. For some, a pet can even have healing powers. Older pet owners may find that a pet can help reduce stress, which can help lower blood pressure. Having a pet has even been shown to have long term effects like helping fight heart disease. Pets can also be helpful in helping the elderly socialize. For those that may live alone, a pet is a welcome addition that can be a companion in itself, or helpful in getting out and about to socialize with others in an assisted living or senior living community. Staying active is an important part of health, especially for the elderly, and having a pet can be a perfect reason to get up and moving during the day.
Having a pet can also be mentally stimulating for those that may need a little boost. Having a new pet can help keep an elderly person’s mind active. Other than the mental boost from having the actual pet, a new animal may prompt new reading and research that can help keep the mind sharp.
Charities such as The Pets for the Elderly Foundation help provide pet therapy for the elderly. They will help provide the funds necessary to adopt a pet from one of their affiliated shelters and help match a person with their perfect pet.
Cure for Loneliness
Having a pet can decrease loneliness, especially after the loss of a loved one. Many elderly people are the most affected by feelings of loneliness, and having the unconditional love of a pet can help fight these feelings. For those that live alone, talking to a pet can be a form of socialization. Pets are not judgmental in any way, and so many people feel like they can talk to and confide in their pets like a friend because they like the idea that their pet is listening. Socializing can help fight feelings of loneliness because no matter what is going on in the person’s life, they will feel like they are not dealing with it alone. This can be vital to improving senior health.
Help Fight Depression and Anxiety
Pet therapy for the elderly can also help fight feelings of depression. Those that have a pet in their lives are less likely to experience feelings of depression due to loneliness or other factors. This can help people live longer, happier lives.
Having a pet can help quell feelings of anxiety. Too many people battle with anxiety and a pet can be a calming presence. The pet can help calm nerves by staying relaxed when the owner of the pet is feeling anxious or nervous. For some, a pet can also be an increased sense of security. For those living alone, a pet may give a much-needed sense of protection.
Caring for a pet can also help someone care for themselves. Having the responsibility of caring for a pet can get someone into a routine, and routine can be helpful in remembering to take care of yourself. Pet therapy for the elderly can help people take better care of themselves because they now feel a sense of responsibility in taking care of their pet, and they will want to better themselves for that pet. Having a well cared for pet can be a sense of pride, and these feelings can help someone have a sense of pride about themselves as well. Caring for a pet is a great way for someone to feel like they are needed or wanted because a pet’s unconditional love will always be there. For many, they need their pets as much as their pets need them, and that can be a very good feeling.
A Pet-Friendly Assisted Living Community
Having a pet can have many benefits, both emotional and physical. These benefits can help seniors live longer, more fulfilled lives as well as provide homes for shelter pets who may be in need of some love themselves. Pets and owners can form partnerships and friendships that can last a lifetime.
Many senior living communities allow pet therapy for the elderly as part of their living arrangements. Watermark of Gulf Breeze understands the importance of having a pet and if they are able to be properly cared for, they are welcome and allowed to live there. Consider donating to a pet therapy charity or adopting a pet to keep your friend or family member company. Both they and the pet will thank you.