The Many Benefits of Pets for the Elderly


By Suzanne Alicie

We all know that pets benefit from being adopted and becoming part of a loving home. We also know that when children are exposed to pets they tend to be more responsible and caring, but when it comes to the elderly the benefits of having a pet are much more than those for younger folks. In comparison with other seniors without pets, elderly pet owners show these results:

• Overall lower blood pressure and pulse rate. Animals have a calming effect as well as causing the senior to walk and move more to improve circulation and health.

• Improved mood and less depression. Pets generate good feelings and lift the mood.

• More social interaction. By making visits to the park to walk a dog or taking a cat to the vet, the elderly are exposed to other people more often.

• More physical activity. Walking dogs and playing with pets are good ways for the elderly to get more exercise, which is beneficial for their overall health.

• Unconditional love and affection. These are things that many elderly people are missing in their lives, since younger family members are often busy with their own lives and don’t have time to visit and spend time with seniors.

• Less loneliness. Again, pets take the place of people in the life of the elderly and many of them spend a great deal of time interacting and talking to their pets.

Besides these benefits it has been shown that seniors who have pets tend to take better care of themselves and show improved health after obtaining a pet. The elderly are exceedingly responsible pet owners too. Interestingly, it has been found that when an elderly family member has a pet, more relatives with young children will visit them because the pet provides a distraction for the children while the adults visit. This provides not only more attention for the pet, and interaction with adults for the senior, but also a chance for the senior to interact with the youngsters using the pet as a common ground of interest.

Young dogs and cats that are energetic and need to run and play more are not the best choice for an elderly person. Instead, a mature pet that has been well trained will make a more suitable companion. These are animals that will soak up all the attention that the elderly person will give them, they will nap often and just be a constant presence.

When it comes to the benefits of pets for the elderly, there are many suitable pets. Every sort of animal, from cats and dogs to fish, can provide the companionship and entertainment that improves the quality of life for the elderly. Many physicians and therapists recommend that their elderly patients obtain a pet for companionship, for exercise, and for therapy.

Just as companionship, understanding and devotion are beneficial to teenagers, the same is true for the elderly. The simple act of having a cat to cuddle on their lap, or a dog to curl up at their feet can make a world of difference in the life of an elderly person.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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