Almost everyone enjoys the company of pets, and the benefits of having a furry friend are well-known – just ask any pet owner. But the health benefits of pet ownership are especially important as we get older.
As an assisted living and memory care community, Yorkshire Village recognizes the value of pets for seniors, and that’s why we’re a pet-friendly community. Keep reading to learn 3 ways that pets can improve health and well-being for older adults.
Mood and Stress
Having a pet around can reduce blood pressure, as well as lower stress and anxiety levels. Pets provide something positive to focus on and a way to keep busy. They can even help with depression, in part by adding meaning, purpose, and companionship to their owners’ lives. After all, a pet relies on its owner, and provides unconditional love along with a sense of being needed. Their companionship is valuable to people of all ages, but especially for older adults, who are at risk of becoming lonely and isolated.
Perhaps not applicable to a fish or a bird, but in the case of cats and dogs, pets can encourage exercise. Dogs need regular walks, and both dogs and cats need play time, making them a great way to add physical activity and routine to your day. Of course, the health benefits of exercise are well-known, including lower cholesterol, better mood, and improved cognition. But simply having a dog or cat is associated with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
It may sound strange to hear that pet ownership has social benefits; after all, you can talk to your pet, but he can’t talk back. But animals can bring people together by being a shared interest. Meet-up groups with pet themes are common, and having a pet can get you out of the house and into public spaces, like pet stores and dog parks.
There are countless benefits to having a pet; they don’t just make great company, but they can also improve your health and well-being. That said, having a pet isn’t for everyone, since they can be high maintenance. If you’re interested in bringing a pet into your home, consider your needs and abilities first to determine what kind of animal is appropriate for you. Whatever you choose, consider adopting an unwanted pet from a local shelter – many shelters have reduced adoption fees for seniors as well as for older pets.
Yorkshire Village is a pet-friendly senior living community in the Southern California area. To learn more about our person-centered approach to elder care, click here to contact us today.