While dogs may be man’s best friend, all pets have the innate ability to capture our hearts and enrich our lives. Experts believe that seniors can form especially meaningful bonds with their four-legged companions and reap many life-enhancing rewards. We’re honoring all furry pals with a compilation of five health benefits of pets for seniors:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chances of depression and loneliness
- Promotes living in the present moment
- Increases mobility and independence
- Eases anxiety and pain
Continue reading to discover more about how your pet can help you live a healthier life.
1. Lowers blood pressure
Seniors with pets tend to have lower blood pressure than non-pet owners, which is a key component in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, research suggests that simply touching or petting a dog can lower blood pressure rates.
2. Reduces chances of depression and loneliness
The loving companionship of a pet can help reduce depression and lonelinessfor senior pet owners who may find themselves spending time alone. Before choosing a new friend, however, consider the pet’s age and demeanor. Some experts suggest that the relaxed temperament of many older pets may align well with typical senior energy levels and lifestyle.
3. Promotes living in the present moment
Animals live for right now – and it’s contagious. That “here and now” mentality can be particularly helpful for seniors. Seizing the day with your furry friend at your side can help you make the most of every day!
4. Increases mobility and independence
Pets can also help improve mobility and independence for seniors by helping with daily tasks. For instance, pets can alert seniors with hearing loss when the doorbell rings or an alarm goes off. A daily outdoor walk with a pet is a healthy low-stress form of exercise.
5. Eases anxiety and pain
Anxiety exacerbates pain. By reducing anxiety, pets can help ease pain for seniors who may experience conditions such as arthritis. In fact, one study found that pet therapy after surgery may even reduce the need for pain medication during recovery.
While pet ownership can have some downsides, there is no denying the many health benefits of pets for seniors. When considering such a decision, balance the advantages with the risks to determine whether a new friend would bring you joy and comfort. To find an adoptable dog near you, locate your area’s animal shelter or check out the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) nationwide database online.
For more articles on senior living and independence, visit our blog today.