Everyone knows the joys and delights of being a pet parent. But for some people, owning a pet can have some profound health benefits, particularly for older adults. Research shows that pet ownership has mental, physical, and psychological advantages for senior citizens. In addition, giving and receiving love from a furry friend is good for your heart and soul!
If you’re an older adult considering getting a pet or thinking of getting a pet for a senior loved one, this list is for you! Here are some of the health benefits of pets for seniors:
- Heart Health. Interacting with a pet can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, lowering your risk of heart disease and keeping your heart (and the rest of your body!) in good health.
- Increased Activity. Speaking of health, the physical activity required to take care of a pet properly can increase the amount of physical activity you have per day, giving you some vital exercise time that you may have been missing before. Even playing and grooming a pet at home can give you some physical activity, but this is especially true for dog owners, who will need to walk their dog multiple times per day for at least 10-20 minutes at a time. Talk about some added exercise time!
- Recovery Therapy. Having a pet during illness or injury can help you speed up your recovery time. This is particularly true for seniors overcoming physical disabilities and injuries—so much so that hospitals and long-term care centers have established pet visitation and pet therapy programs to help aid recovery processes, and keep spirits high, too!
- Social Interaction. Though pets are certainly great companions themselves, owning a pet can also help seniors form social connections with other pet owners. Pet owners report meeting other pet owners while walking around the neighborhood and non-pet owners who want to meet their pet! Socialization can be essential for seniors, who often feel more isolated or lonely as they age.
- Stress and Anxiety. Being with a pet can boost your serotonin levels, the “happy” hormone that can make you feel happy and positive, and lower your stress and anxiety levels.
- Sense of Purpose. A pet gives seniors something to take care of and wake up for, giving them a sense of purpose. It may sound small, but many seniors report that having a pet can help combat depression, helping them feel loved and improve their overall mental health.
Addington Place at College Harbor is a vibrant senior living community with an ocean view in St. Petersburg, Florida. Whether you want to perfect your golf game, take a continuing education class, relax by the sparkling pool on our expansive outdoor patio or stroll through the garden walking paths, our distinctive community offers many social and recreational opportunities. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you 24 hours a day.