Seniors and pets: A doggone good idea, or a hairy mess?

Obviously, there are a variety of benefits animals have when placed with an elderly care taker. They don’t have to worry about finding a safe and warm place to sleep at night, there is always plenty of food around, and constant companionship makes them feel loved and secure. It just so happens that there are also many benefits that seniors can take advantage of when paired with an animal companion. Here are just a few:

Health Benefits

One of the biggest health benefits for elderly people who own pets is that their blood pressure stays lower than those who don't have a furry friend to live with. Many seniors even find that they need fewer doctor visits throughout the year. Pets also keep the elderly active, which results in better health overall. The extra activity helps to maintain lean muscle tissue which in turn helps to prevent broken bones and strained muscles while performing every day activities.

Mental Benefits

Depression is a problem that plaques the elderly because of isolation and feelings of inadequacy. But pets know how to ease those symptoms on a grand scale. Most seniors who live with an animal companion report feeling much more at ease, secure, and happy compared to when they lived alone.

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They take pride in being able to care not only for themselves, but they can care for their beloved furry family member too. Those with pets also tend to have more self esteem and take better care of themselves. Many seniors find that their pets help them to get over a loved one, and they feel less lonely while living alone.

Social Benefits

Socialization is extremely important for the overall health of any person, especially those who are older in age. Seniors who have pets spend more time with friends, and enjoy showing their pets off so having company tends to be experienced more often. Pets become the confidant to their senior owners, so that correspondence with other people does not always have to center around problem solving.

Overall, any pet offers health, mental, and social benefits to the elderly. However, it is important that the right pet is matched up with each person because they all have different care needs. Those who have a hard time caring for themselves or getting around will have a more rewarding experience with cats or fish than with dogs. Seniors who still exercise and do all their chores personally may be better suited with a dog that likes the outdoors.