With growing age, many seniors look forward to becoming pet owners in order to have a companion who can add more color to their life. When we talk about pets, what could be better than a dog? Dogs are known for their loyalty and unconditional love for their owners. There's a good reason dogs are known as human’s best friend.
Having a dog at home will not only help in overcoming the feeling of loneliness but would also help in living an active and healthy life. Studies have shown that seniors having a dog tend to be more active and happier.
In this article, we have covered some benefits that you can enjoy by becoming a proud pet owner.
1. Pet Ownership Reduces the Risk of Depression
In later stages of life, many older adults end up living a lonely life. The reason for this can be the job requirements of their kids, health issues, death of their spouse, etc. Living alone is not easy. Human beings need a company. The feeling of being alone and lack of company might result in depression. Depression is evil for our health as it can affect our overall wellbeing in numerous ways.
Well, an easy way to kick the feeling of loneliness from our lives is by becoming a pet owner. Your dog can be your friend who will be there for you and will love you unconditionally. Your pet will keep you company in your good as well as bad times. Its wagging tail will be an indication that you are the center of your pet’s life. This feeling of being loved will not only help in overcoming your depression but would also make you feel happy.
2. Owning a Dog Helps to Reduce Stress
Pets are very intelligent. Just by looking at their owner, they come to know the mood of their owners. When they see their owners are upset or feeling sad, they try to make them happy.
Pets are considered as one of the best stress busters. Spending time with our pet relaxes our brain and body. Having a pet around tends to stimulate the production of oxytocin in the brain. The release of oxytocin reduces the stress level in the body.
3. Pet Ownership During Senior Years Increases Mobility & Independence
Having a pet can increase an individual’s independence and mobility. Pets like cats and dogs help their owner in doing daily tasks. They can help in searching for lost items or can alert their owners when someone is at the door. Besides this, dogs can even alert neighbors in case something happens to their owners. Playing with the pet or taking your dog for a daily walk will increase mobility in senior people.
4. Life is More Active With a Pet
To live a healthy life, larger pets like dogs and cats need to perform some physical exercise on a daily basis. This exercise can be in the form of a daily walk, playing with a ball, etc. The regular exercise requirement of the pet varies from breed to breed. Some dog breeds require more exercise during the day than others. Lack of exercise might make your pet unhappy and cranky.
Taking the dog for a walk or for a run keeps the owner physically active. Besides this, seniors have to do various chores to fulfill their pet’s needs and requirements. The simple tasks like feeding the pet, bathing the pet, grooming them, etc. keep seniors occupied and active.
If you are planning to get a dog, then choose one that suits your needs and lifestyle. If you are living in a senior facility, selecting the right breed becomes more crucial. You can even search for the "Best dogs for seniors" and "dog friendly assisted living centers" on the internet. Go through the results and select the best combination possible.
5. Pets Ease Pain & Anxiety
Anxiety is quite common in senior people. Anxiety tends to increase the pain. As we all know, in old age, people suffer from various health issues that cause pain. This includes arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. Having a pet tends to reduce the anxiety level that further helps in easing pain.
In various studies, pet therapy has found to be very effective in reducing pain among senior people who have undergone surgery. Many seniors have even claimed that their pets have helped them in taking their mind off the pain.
Having a pet can boost the release of happy hormone-oxytocin in the brain. This results in reducing the feeling of anxiety as well as pain in humans.
6. Owning a Pet Helps to Stick to a Routine
To live a healthy life, sticking to a routine is very important. The setting of a routine makes sure that we follow a robust and systematic lifestyle. Having a routine becomes more crucial when we enter the golden years of our life. During that time, we tend to become lethargic, less active, and slow. Many a time, our thinking and cognitive skills also get affected with progressing age. Things can be different if you own a pet.
Having a pet in your house would make you responsible. As a dog or cat owner, you need to make sure that your pet’s food, water, exercise, grooming, and other needs are met on time. For this, you need to plan a daily routine and stick to it. To keep up with the pet’s routine, the owner ends up having a routine for themselves. Hence, making their life free of chaos.
Having a pet makes our life disciplined and more systematic. A pet keeps the owner mentally and physically fit.
7. Lowers Blood Pressure
As discussed earlier, having a dog can help in reducing stress and anxiety levels. Also, a pet keeps the owner physically fit. All these reasons further help in lowering the blood pressure. Hence, reducing the chances of heart-related problems.
8. Pets Improve Social Interaction
Taking a dog for a walk gives elderly persons a reason to come out of their cocoon. When they go out, they tend to meet new people. Also, pet owners tend to get attention from the passers-by. Hence, giving them an opportunity for social interactions. Many pet-owners have claimed that their pets helped them in connecting with other people.
9. Provide Protection & Security
Having a pet at home provides a feeling of security and protection. Pets, especially dogs, alarm their owners if some unknown person is at the door or someone tries to enter the house. Even cats and birds make noises when they feel that their owner might be in danger.
Pets bring a smile to their owner’s face. However, not every pet suits the requirement of every senior. It’s better to take some time before bringing a pet home. If you want, you can consult a vet and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of various kinds of pets. Select one that you feel is right for you. A pet can change your way of living life. That, too, in a positive manner.
Guest Blog Author Bio:
This blog is the work of https://www.petfriendlyseniorliving.com/, a provider of Dog-friendly and Cat-friendly assisted living communities for seniors across the United States. Please note we have no association with the author or company, and do not benefit commercially in any way from this post.