Three Amazing Benefits Pets Provide For Seniors

Posted on: 7 August 2015


Those receiving senior home care often have a tough time dealing with the forced transitions they need to make due to their age, loss of independence, and having a body that just won't do what it used to do. In order to help cope with these feelings and situations, some seniors have opted to get a pet or companion animal. Besides lifting their spirits, here are three amazing benefits pets provide for seniors.

Pets Provide Motivation to Exercise

For some older folks, it's easy to get stuck in a rut and want to stay home all day. This can be especially true if they receive senior home care services and don't have to go out to the grocery store or they don't have the ability to run errands for themselves. They also might not be motivated to move around much. This is where having a pet comes in. Dogs especially are great pets to help motivate seniors to exercise as they need to be walked or let outside. Even if it is just to take Fido for a short walk around the block, or getting outdoors to throw a ball for Fido to fetch, this is a little bit of exercise seniors might not get otherwise.

Pets Help People Make New Friends

In the United States, 18 percent of seniors live by themselves. Forty-three percent of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis, even when they are married or living with a partner. Not only can pets help seniors combat feelings of loneliness, they can help seniors make new friends. Many communities have shared events for pet owners, including pet parades and fundraising events for the local humane society or animal shelter. Most communities also have dog parks which are great places to meet other dog owners.

Pets Can Help Reduce Stress

Stress can be overwhelming, especially for seniors. When seniors are stressed, their sometimes already fragile health can decline even further. It's important for those providing private duty home services, family members, and friends to realize when an elderly person might be stressed. These signs include changes in

  • Eating habits
  • Mood swings
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep habits
  • Socialization

It has been proven that both touch and movement can help reduce stress. When a senior simply uses their hand to pat a dog on the head or pet a cat, it can actually help lower blood pressure, thus relieving feelings of stress.

Seniors can look for the perfect pet at their local animal shelter or rescue group.