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Three reasons why senior citizens should have pets

By on September 25, 2017

We all know the good that results from pet ownership. Companionship, therapy, and other benefits result from having an animal in your home- especially if you have a “few more dog years” on you. Read the top three benefits of owning a pet as a senior citizen below.

 

The benefits of owning pets on seniors or aging persons are enormous. They provide meaning to an older adult’s life and contribute to their overall well-being. Whether a pet is part of a senior household or a community, animals bring love and joy to what may be considered a lonely and isolated stage of their lives. From companions and friends to service and emotional support animals, there are many benefits from interacting with these creatures for older adults.

 

Companionship

There is little doubt that pets make great companions.  Pet ownership is popular among 85 million households/families in the US according to the 2017-2018 APPA National Survey Report. For seniors who live independently, domestic animals are amazing creatures that accompany them in their daily activities. Fido is always there to provide companionship and in many instances, deep friendships and ties develop between owners and animals. They are often regarded as a valuable member of a household.

 

Service

Pets are not only fantastic partners, they also function as service animals for seniors. The CDC reports that there are 26.5 million adults aged 65 years and above with ‘basic actions, difficulties or complex activity limitations’.  They may benefit from the assistance of a service animal. Dogs are specially trained to alert authorities or hospitals if there is an emergency with their owner who may have a medical condition or disability. They also help their masters live independently and improve mobility. Service animals assist aging persons to cope with day-to-day living (retrieve things or lead the way) and at the same time, provide companionship and friendship. They keep dementia patients safer preventing them from wandering by staying with them until help arrives (a GPS tracker is attached on their collars).

 

Therapy

One of the most important benefits that pets provide is emotional support. They can function as therapy animals. Stroking, talking to an animal, walking (dogs) or riding (horses) not only has benefits on a psychological and emotional plane but also helps improve balance & coordination and gait among the elderly. Pets have therapeutic benefits and several studies confirm the positive correlation between patients and animals. In addition to stimulating and providing physical activity for a senior, pets give the elderly a reason to get up each day. Caring for them gives an older adult a sense of purpose and belonging.

 

Owning a pet in a senior household or community has many positive effects. Pets are adorable companions and provide stimulation on a physical, emotional and psychological basis. Imagine how lonely, depressing and difficult an older adult’s life can become without the presence of companion, service and therapy animals.

About Eric Forrest

Eric is a pet lover, bookworm and dad. He's had 5 family dogs, 4 cats, a cottontail rabbit he nursed back to health, and two ducks. Cats are his preference, but Eric loves all little critters.

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