Pets are commonly associated with child-rearing, but it is also believed that owning pets can be beneficial to adults in several ways. Specifically, many of our loved ones find that owning pets provides them with positive health effects and companionship. So what are the benefits of owning a pet for the elderly? Here are some pros of the idea to help you decide if it is right for you or your loved one.
Pets Make the Perfect Companion
Pets make an excellent companion for loved ones living on their own or any person who may be home alone during parts of each day. Pets provide unconditional love and will let you know if something is wrong by nuzzling your hand or sitting at your feet. Best of all, pets keep you active! Instead of watching TV all afternoon, take Fido outside for a walk or play fetch. Walks around your neighborhood can give you some exercise while enjoying companionship at the same time. With so many benefits, it is no wonder there is such a high percentage of pet owners in retirement communities.
A Study Has Shown That Owning a Pet Increases the Owner’s Physical Activity
It is no secret that an active lifestyle can do wonders for your overall health. But not everyone has time to get to a gym or hit up a group class. That is where pets come in handy. Keeping a pet means you have extra motivation to get outside and take frequent walks. You do not have to go out of your way—walk around your neighborhood, taking care of business as usual—and you can incorporate physical activity into your daily routine without skipping a beat.
Pets Can Provide Emotional Support
A recent study in Psychology found that people who have pets tend to live longer than those who do not. The reason is simple: Pets can provide emotional support when you are down, and that kind of comfort improves your overall health. Pets also lower blood pressure, keep stress levels low, help you relax, relieve depression and lower cholesterol—and research suggests they are suitable for your heart. Overall, having a pet—especially if it is a dog—is likely to improve your health in many ways.
Helps You Establish A Routine
Countless studies demonstrate the benefits of owning a pet on both children and adults. One study suggests that the elderly who own pets tend to exercise more than those who do not, partly because they need to take their pets for walks or play with them outside. It does not matter if you own a dog, cat, bird, or fish—as long as you spend quality time with your pet every day. Staying active can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your overall mood and boost your memory by getting you out of bed and moving around.
Pets Provide A Sense Of Responsibility
If you own a pet, you become responsible for another living being. You must care for your pet by feeding it, walking it, and taking care of any medical issues that may arise. These responsibilities give you an added sense of purpose in life. Many loved ones find that they love caring for their pets just as much as their children or grandchildren. Having a responsibility helps them feel needed again, which can be very beneficial to their physical and mental health.