Aging in Place and Owning a Pet
As you age, it can become harder to stay social and active. Decreased mobility and independence can be frustrating for seniors and lead to loneliness, isolation and even depression. However, studies have shown that owning a pet as a senior can provide both mental and physical health benefits. Here, the home care professionals at Avila Home Care discuss the benefits of pets for seniors, and how to choose the right pet for your home.
Pets Provide Companionship
One of the major advantages of owning a pet as a senior is the sense of companionship that they bring. When aging in place, socializing outside of the home may not always feel feasible, and therefore pets can bring a sense of comfort and purpose. As a senior, it can be hard to convey your feelings with family and friends who are not sharing the same experiences, and pets provide another outlet for communication. In a survey of older pet owners, 95% of people talk to their pets and 57% admit that they confide in their pets. Knowing that you have a companion to spend time with on a daily basis, and gaining a feeling of purpose in the process, can bring joy to many elderly individuals.
Pets Are Mentally Stimulating
There have been various studies regarding the positives and negatives of owning a pet as you age, but the mental and physical health benefits they bring prove to be a deciding factor for many seniors and their families. Mental benefits include higher memory recall, decreased stress and reduced anxiety, to name a few. Pets have also been found to help with memory recall and communication in Alzheimer’s patients. Pet therapy is a growing field and has been used for both children and the elderly suffering from mental and physical disabilities. If you have not seen success in communication or activity with your aging parent, a pet may be just the companion they need.
Pets Can Lower Health Risks
Apart from the mental benefits, physical benefits such as decreased blood pressure and a lowered risk of heart disease can come from owning a pet as you age. Just a short time with your pet can show positive results and, over the long term, pet and human interactions can help lower cholesterol, fight depression and even help protect against heart disease and stroke. Because you are responsible for making sure your pet gets adequate exercise, many seniors find themselves staying more active as an aging pet owner. Daily walks with your dog, or playtime with your cat, helps incorporate physical activity and movement into your day. In addition, dog walking provides increased opportunities for conversation with other dog owners, giving you the chance to form new friendships as you age.
Enjoy the Advantages of Pet Ownership with Avila Home Care
If you want to adopt a pet for yourself or your loved one, it is important to make sure you do your research. Depending on your level of mobility and patience, you may not want to get a puppy or kitten as they take longer to train and require more exercise and consistent attention. The home care professionals at Avila Home Care want to make sure you can experience all of the benefits of pet ownership while ensuring your pet is properly taken care of—that is why our aging in place professionals can assist with pet care services including going on walks and feeding your pet. If you have found your perfect pet, and want an extra set of hands around the house to assist with pet care, contact Avila Home Care to see how we can help you!
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