How Pets Help Senior Citizens
It's tough to imagine a sweeter pair than a senior citizen and a beloved pet. Dogs and cats need affection, love and companionship. Many senior citizens have those gifts in abundance to shower onto their furry companions. But this isn't just a one-way relationship. Pets fulfill many needs common among seniors, which is why the love is mutual.
The connection between senior citizens and their pets goes beyond enjoying each other's company. Here's why senior citizens and pets really are the best kind of best friends.
Pets bring great benefits to senior citizens. Taking a dog for a walk, for example, can be a good form of exercise. Studies have shown that owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which lowers the risk of medical issues such as heart attacks. People who own pets also tend to have better recovery rates from heart attacks and lower stress levels.
A Friend Who's Always There
Loneliness can be a real issue for up to 46 percent of people older than 60. In the U.S., half of people older than 85 live alone, as do about a third of those older than 65. Bringing a pet into the picture can help significantly. When a senior citizen has a dog, for example, she can take the pup with her wherever she goes. Whether she's visiting a post office or going for a drive, the dog can tag along and be a constant, welcome companion. In fact, studies have shown that senior citizens with pets tend to smile more and feel less depressed.
The Most Adorable Job
Retiring is a really fun part of life: you don't have to wake up early, and your time is your own. But many senior citizens miss some of the day-to-day responsibilities their careers brought. That's where a pet comes in! Having a pet is pretty much the most adorable job ever. Pet parents still have day-to-day responsibilities like feeding, training, and going for walks, but their dog or cat is a lot cuter than their boss was.
The Best Ice Breaker
Sometimes socializing and making new friends can be intimidating, but many senior citizens would love to find more people to hang out with. When they own a pet, those experiences come easy. You really can't find a better ice breaker than an adorable dog walking beside you or sharing a cute picture of your cat from your phone.
Sometimes, it can be easy to feel a little bored after retiring. This is especially true for senior citizens who can't drive anymore. A pet can provide tons of entertainment. A dog chasing after a toy or two kittens pouncing at each other in the air is better than TV. Plus, senior citizens can get absorbed in training their pets, which will only grow their bond. And as an added boredom-buster, pets are the perfect magnet for grandchildren and neighborhood kids!
Pets Benefit, Too
Pets don't always love being home alone. But since senior citizens are typically retired, they're home a lot more than most working adults. This constant companionship can be a big source of joy for the pet parent and the lucky cat or dog.
Sharing snack time is a great way to build the bond between senior citizens and their pets. Try Milk-Bone® Original Biscuits for wholesome goodness after a rousing game of fetch.
Photo Credit #1: "2010/365/221 Brantley and Brandy" by Alan Levine via Flickr. License info.
Photo Credit #2: "Grandma!!!" by Selmer van Alten via Flickr. License info.
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