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Benefits of Pets for Seniors
A growing body of research shows that our furry four-legged friends have a significant positive impact on the emotional, social, and even physical well-being of seniors.  Mobility issues, health complications, or lower energy levels can cause seniors to become increasingly isolated, especially those who live alone.  The companionship pets provide help to engage seniors, and provide lasting health benefits, including:

Emotional Benefits
  • Sense of purpose: Sometimes seniors become discouraged or even isolated, especially those who live alone.  Pets can give a sense of purpose to seniors – reminding them that they are needed, and there are people or animals who depend on them.
  • Decreased loneliness: Pets provide unconditional love and sense of security.  Pets can respond to verbal commands, demonstrating that they are listening.  They give seniors the companionship, physical contact, and interaction that they may not otherwise receive.
  • Stress relief: Studies show that pets release serotonin in the brain, a chemical that is responsible for regulating anxiety, mood, and happiness. Increased levels of serotonin help to relieve stress.
 
Social Benefits
  • Increased interaction: Walking dogs gets owners out of the house and increases the chance of socializing with neighbors on their walks.
  • Stimulates memory: Remembering to feed a pet, take them out, and care for a pet can stimulate memory.  Experiences with pets can also tap into memories and help seniors recall memories from childhood or their adult life.
  • Encourage social interaction and conversation: A pet can be a point of common interest for people, and an easy topic of conversation; helping seniors to make new friends and create new bonds.
Physical Benefits
  • Increased exercise: Walking, grooming, and petting animals helps lead to increased physical activity. Increased exercise leads to countless health benefits.
  • Heart health: Many studies show that pets decrease anxiety and stress levels for seniors, which can decrease blood pressure, leading to overall improved heart health.
  • Maintaining routines: Studies show that people who own pets tend to maintain routines and take better care of themselves – walking frequently, eating regularly, and maintaining more regular sleep patterns.
 
Maybe owning a pet isn’t the best option for the seniors you know – that’s okay, studies even show that visits with animals can have a positive impact on seniors. The companionship pets provide help to engage seniors and provide many lasting health benefits.
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