Some studies have shown the benefits of owning a pet as a senior. The findings indicate that the relationship is a match made in heaven. Love is the ideal prescription for solitude, and there’s no better way to get that love than by having a happy bundle of fur also called a pet. Many live-in carers can testify to seeing benefits associated with owning a pet as an older adult, they really can benefit our lives.
“Anyone who thinks money can’t buy happiness has never owned a cat [or any pet].”
― Arya Riverdale
So what are the main positive benefits that come from a relationship between the elderly and pets?
From a purely medical perspective, having a pet will decrease blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. After a heart attack, there is normally reduced rehabilitation time for seniors who own pets. They visit the doctors less often and have better muscle strength and endurance. A number of these physical advantages are traced back to an increase in activity such as walking with the pets. Walking provides a restoration effect, thanks to the nature surrounding the neighbourhood.
As an elderly person, sometimes you might be going through a tough time and need someone to talk to. Your children could be grown up and too busy living their own lives to be there for you when you need them. Owning a pet can distract you and get your mind off overthinking. Stroking animals alleviates stress. Because pets are non-judgmental, they are a good companion when it comes to getting rid of loneliness. Pets reduce depression, which can be caused by isolation or loss of a loved one.
- Having a Routine
Older people also get a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence when they’re responsible for the feeding and care of another life. When you know that you have to give care to another living being, it automatically makes you want to take good care of yourself. A visit to the supermarket to stock up on essentials or planning a meal might appear problematic to some elderly folks. However, once they get into the habit of preparing a meal for their cat or dog, it becomes routine, and they do it without complaining. That constant activity is good for their bodies as a way of exercising, as opposed to sitting back and doing nothing.
- Mental Alertness
Pets excite the mind because they are so playful, relieve boredom, and improve mental alertness. When a senior owns a pet, they somehow feel like they are not alone and feel more secure in their homes. Human beings like it when their egos are boosted. And owning a pet is one way of doing this. Imagine receiving all the love and adoration from a pet; it sure feels great and makes you feel loved and appreciated!
- Making New Friends
Meeting new people is hard especially as an older person if you spend most of your time indoors. Many pet events and organizations deal with catering to animals. These are a good place to meet people who have the same shared interests as yours. Plus, pets are a good way to break the ice.
As a pet owner, I can’t imagine not having fur babies in the house. Yes, I do moan sometimes… yes, I get cross with them from time to time but at the end of the day, they give more than they take and this is why we love them so much.