The Power of Pets and Their Positive Effects on Senior Health
As we age, our health and well-being should become a priority. For seniors, having a pet can be beneficial for wellness in many ways. From providing companionship to improving physical health, pets can make life more purposeful and enjoyable. Positive News for You shares some ways that pets can help improve the mental and physical health of older adults.
They Give Us a Purpose
Having a pet provides seniors with something to look forward to each day, as they will need to take care of their pet’s needs such as feeding, grooming, and playing. This sense of purpose is especially important for those who may have lost loved ones or retired from work. Having a pet can provide seniors with an outlet for their emotions and give them something to focus on other than their problems.
They Relieve Loneliness
For seniors who live alone or far away from family members, having a pet can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation. Pets provide unconditional love and companionship which can be especially beneficial for those who no longer have close relationships with other people due to physical distance or illness. Pets also give seniors someone to talk to when feeling lonely or sad, which helps them feel less isolated from the world around them.
They Promote Activity
Pets require regular exercise to stay healthy, which means that owners must also be active to keep up with their furry friends. Taking a dog on daily walks or playing fetch encourages seniors to get out of the house while also getting some much-needed exercise. This activity not only helps improve physical fitness but also increases endorphins, which helps reduce stress levels.
They Provide Social Opportunities
Having a pet allows seniors to interact with other people in their community such as neighbors or fellow dog walkers as they go about taking care of their pet’s needs. This increased social interaction is important for reducing feelings of loneliness while also providing opportunities for making new friends. Additionally, visiting dog parks or joining local pet clubs is another great way for seniors to meet new people while doing something they love.
They Provide Comfort
Pets are known for providing comfort during difficult times, which makes them ideal companions for those struggling with stress or anxiety. Studies show that interacting with animals can help lower blood pressure levels while also increasing serotonin (the “happy hormone”) levels in our brains, which helps us feel calmer during stressful situations. Additionally, cuddling up with a pet at night has been known to reduce cortisol levels (the hormone associated with stress) for a better night’s sleep.
Preparing With Quality Food and Supplies
Before bringing home your new friend, you must create a safe space for them where they will feel comfortable and secure. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies such as food/water bowls, toys, bedding, and treats. You’ll also want to invest in high-quality food to ensure their digestive system and bone/joint health are a priority. For instance, grain-free dog food is lower in carbs and higher in beneficial protein, which helps to promote a healthier weight. This one deserves a look when you’re ready to purchase the best food for your dog.
Focusing on wellness is a priority for older adults, and pets can play a big role in mental and physical health. From helping to initiate social situations to boosting sleep quality, animals can have a huge impact on human well-being. With the right preparations, quality dog food, and a routine that allows for activity, you can bring home a pet that will remain your loyal companion for years to come.
Thank you to Janet Campbell, of ElderSpark for providing this article.
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