Instinctively, we all know that pets are good for us. Good for our spirit and good for our mind.
They satisfy some of our deepest needs and in doing so, become so much more than merely domesticated animals to us – they become cherished members of the family! Family members who sometimes sniff your crotch and pee on the carpet, but family members who assume a special place in our homes and hearts nonetheless.
Pets can be especially beneficial to older adults. Here are the top 4 reasons why:
Loneliness can become an unwelcome companion as we age and can lead to depression as well as physical problems. Adopting a pet can greatly enrich and dramatically improve our quality of life!
Pets make great confidants and companions as they are nonjudgmental and always available to us. They offer unconditional love, attention and acceptance without any of the anxiety that so often goes with relationships of the 2-legged kind.
Allowing pet owners to love and feel loved may be the greatest contribution that pets can make!
2. Physical Health Benefits
Pet ownership increases physical activity – having a dog can be a great way to make walking an enjoyable exercise and a regular part of your day!
Studies have shown that owning a pet – or spending regular quality time with an animal – can help to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, lower blood pressure and cholesterol; reducing the risk of developing heart disease and even promoting longer life!
Those studies have also shown that elderly people who own pets make fewer visits to doctors than those who are without animal companions!
It has also been suggested that pets may help the healing process following medical procedures by providing comfort and by helping to maintain a positive attitude.
3. Mental Health Benefits
Interaction with a pet has been proven to stimulate mental activity and memory.
In addition to alleviating boredom, loneliness, and depression; keeping a pet helps seniors focus on something other than physical problems and negative preoccupations with ageing or loss.
The routine of caring for a pet itself can provide structure and purpose to daily life – a reason to get out of bed and a reminder to take care of ourselves too.
Having a pet can also introduce you to new interests, activities, and opportunities for social interaction with like-minded pet lovers.
Last, but not least, pets give people a sense of purpose and allow people to become attached to something and feel that something is attached to them.
It is also very satisfying taking care of another living thing. To be useful and of value. Knowing that even though you need your pet, your pet needs you, too.
At the end of the day, having a pet means that you have made a promise to invest in life and to continue being involved in another life. This commitment is one of the most positive decisions you can make as you grow older!
And the good news is…
Glenvale Villas takes pets, so you can bring your favourite furry, feathered or finned friend with you. Many of our residents have pets, which helps stimulate conversations and encourages time out and about for their exercise (well maybe not the feathered or finned kind).