Keeping a Pet While Aging in Place: Why Seniors Should Consider a Pet

The companionship and affection a pet offers is beneficial for people of all ages, but seniors can especially benefit from caring for a pet. Here at Avila, we prioritize your personal well-being, which is why we have outlined the benefits to seniors of becoming a pet owner.

 Caring for a pet can provide seniors a variety of physical, mental and emotional benefits and can make a dramatic difference in a senior’s overall quality of life. Below, the home care professionals at Avila Home Care provide reasons for why the elderly should consider caring for a pet.

 Pets Make Exercise Easier

As you age, exercise does not diminish in importance—if anything, it becomes a necessity as a means to maintain health and vitality. Pets, especially dogs, motivate their owners to stay active and walk more, which can help seniors to maintain or lose weight, reduce stress and anxiety, maintain muscle and bone strength and more. And walks are not only beneficial health-wise—they also strengthen the bond between you and your pet and can help seniors to make friends with other pet owners in the area.

Some seniors may find daily walks to be difficult, as they may suffer from joint pain or other health-related issues. The good news is that merely feeding and petting your pet can provide movement and exercise for seniors with mobility issues or for those who are not used to everyday physical activity. As seniors become more comfortable with the daily responsibilities of owning a pet, they can begin to incorporate walks into their regular routine.

Pets Provide a Sense of Purpose

Tending to a pet requires responsibility, and a daily structure is necessary for owning a pet. Luckily, the daily patterns that come with pet care, such as feeding, walking, and playing provides an owner with a sense of purpose. Seniors who become pet owners can find joy in feeling responsible for another life, and the daily tasks that come with pet ownership provide a fulfilling and satisfying routine.

Pets Offer Companionship

Some seniors may feel isolated from friends or family due to health or mobility issues, but owning a pet can help to mitigate potential feelings of loneliness. A pet acts as a constant companion to talk to, care for and play with, and in turn they provide infinite mental, emotional and social benefits that enrich a senior’s aging-in-place experience.

Pets Benefit Health and Well-Being

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of owning a pet is the health benefits that caring for them can provide. Studies have shown that senior pet owners reap the benefits of decreased depression rates, lower blood pressure and longevity—all from caring for a dog or cat. This is because of the increased quality of life and daily exercise that pets provide.

Because the risk of health issues often increases with age, it is essential that self-care remain a top priority for the elderly. Becoming a pet owner may provide you with the motivation you need to continue to maintain your physical and mental health as you age.

 How Avila Can Help

Seniors who wish for an increased quality of life may wish to consider sharing their home with a pet, but it is important to ensure that the daily care responsibilities of owning a pet are possible to maintain based on each senior’s unique health concerns and daily living. The assistance of a friend, family or in-home care provider may be a valuable way to help ensure a pet’s needs are met. At Avila Home Care, our dedicated care professionals provide a variety of services for seniors and can help minimize the responsibilities of pet ownership for seniors. For more information on how the services offered by our committed caregivers can provide you with the help you need, contact us today!

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