Pet ownership brings benefits to those of all ages. There’s simply nothing like seeing that wagging tail greet you after a long day to make you feel needed and loved, or stroking some soft ears while you relax in the evening for a calming, comforting effect. In fact, a study showed 74% of seniors who own pets report that simply touching their pet made them feel better overall.
Most seniors who own pets were animal lovers and pet owners throughout their lives, but this doesn’t mean if you’ve never had a pet that it’s too late to consider it. The benefits a furry friend can offer to the elderly are important to note and can greatly enhance your life.
Health Benefits of Animals
Pets can help seniors maintain a daily routine, which is a key factor in slowing the aging process. When a senior lives independently, a pet can bring purpose to their lives and offer a form of companionship they might not otherwise have. If social engagement is restricted due to physical limitations, an animal provides seniors with an accessible form of social contact, leading to reduced feelings of loneliness and depression.
A recent study also showed that those seniors who own pets report significantly less stress than non-pet owners during a difficult situation, like dealing with the loss of a spouse. It’s been proven that other health benefits of animals include lowering the blood pressure and reducing heart rate of owners.