Pet and Owner Health: The Benefits That Pets Can Have On Seniors
A pet may just be what you need if you are entering your senior years.
When it comes to your golden years, one of the most difficult challenges that seniors often have to face is the fact that certain everyday behaviors and activities are no longer the same as they used to be. For instance, driving to the store to get groceries may no longer be a quick, simple task. In fact, between getting ready to leave the house, getting to the store, locating the items on your grocery list and then making your way back home, this task may end up being a whole day’s worth of activities all in itself.
Luckily, as long as you have the proper support system along the way, entering your senior years does not always have to be as nerve-racking or exhausting as it might seem to some people. And speaking of support, what better support system could you possibly ask for than a furry pet to care for and call your own?
In addition to pets being the perfect loving companion for older adults who find themselves on their own or looking for something to occupy their time, studies have also shown that owning and handling animals significantly benefits the health of human seniors. In fact, pets may help elderly owners live longer, healthier and more enjoyable lives.
Independently living seniors that have pets have also been found to have better physical health and mental wellbeing than those that don’t. They’re also more active, cope better with stress, and have better overall health. A 1997 study on the topic even showed that elderly pet owners had significantly lower blood pressure overall than their contemporaries without pets.
However, who is to say whether or not you as a senior may be ready for the responsibility and commitment that comes with bringing a pet into your life full-time? Keep in mind the following before you think about bringing a new furry friend into your senior home:
- Pet’s can tie you down, not unlike children. A senior who is retired and finally has the freedom to travel may not necessary want to have to worry about having to make arrangements for a pet.
- Pet’s are expensive. Many older individuals live on very limited incomes. Some may find that they cannot manage the additional costs of food and veterinary care on a tight budget.
- Pet’s are a long-term commitment. Many seniors may not want another pet because they worry what will become of it if they fall ill and are not able to care for their pet. Some also worry that their pet may not be able to come along if they have to move to a different living situation later down the road.
That being said, pets are an excellent source of companionship and can greatly benefit seniors who are able to handle the responsibility that they bring. They can act as a support system for older people who don’t have any family or close friends nearby to act as a support system. Plus, more than anything, pets make a great friend, for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.