How our pets make our tails wag just a little more by improving our lives in more ways than one.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 60% of Americans own a pet, and it’s clear to see why. Many studies have proven that dogs and cats make excellent companions that help us relax and reduce our stress while stimulating the mind and making us more physically active. These benefits are especially great for seniors, who get even more from the loving companionship and greater activity they enjoy while caring for their pets.
Let’s dig our paws into some of the many advantages seniors get from their beloved pets.
Pets Make Us More Active, Engaged, & Social
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, or fish, caring for a pet gets seniors moving, lifting, and playing like nothing else. In fact, a study found that 83% of people with dogs report being more physically active, with 72% saying their dog made their exercise habits better. Seniors who own a dog are far more likely to get out for a walk, and this extra physical activity brings tons of health benefits, from lower blood pressure to better sleep and less anxiety. These great benefits extend even further as pets are even connected to reducing undesirable chemicals caused by stress that are linked to clogged arteries.
Pets also encourage seniors to get together with friends and enjoy a better social life, helping them feel more engaged, included, and fulfilled. They make for a great conversation starter, whether it be about the kind of dog, cat, bird, or fish, funny stories that can be shared among friends, or a few unique qualities and tricks they possess. All in all, pets are a fantastic way to interact and make new and meaningful connections at any age.
Pets Help Us Relax & Feel Happier
Nothing puts a smile on your face quite like an enthusiastic greeting from your favorite furry companion. Seniors who have dogs and cats get healthy mental stimulation from these loving relationships. It is great for the mind and can even help reduce cognitive decline and slow the onset of dementia. More so, pets help seniors who have dementia, like Alzheimer’s, be calmer and reduce the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s even stated that if a loved one with dementia has a pet in the home, it even reduces stress for caregivers!
With their beloved pets at their sides, seniors everywhere are happier, more relaxed, and enjoy better quality-of-life. No matter what you’re feeling, spending time with your pet is a sure-fire way to boost self-esteem and feelings of meaning and belonging. It’s no wonder why everyone loves their pets so much!
American Psychological Association (2011, July 11) The Truth About Cats and Dogs: Pets Are Good for Mental Health of ‘Everyday People’ Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/07/cats-dogs.aspx
Bao, Katherine J. (2016, May 11) Pets and Happiness: Examining the Association between Pet Ownership and Wellbeing Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2016.1152721
Bender, Kelli (2017, April 11) Study Finds What We All Know: Your Dog Makes You a Better Person Retrieved from https://people.com/pets/study-finds-what-we-all-know-your-dog-makes-you-a-better-person/
Davis, Jeanie L. (2004) 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/health-benefits-of-pets#1