Many people know how important pets can be within a family dynamic. The relationships formed with animals provide a wealth of benefits, particularly for the seniors who may have very few friends and family to rely on. If you are considering pet ownership, take a look at the following benefits for seniors.
Whether it's walking a dog, cleaning the litter box, playing fetch or feeding and watering, owning and caring for a pet requires a degree of physical activity. This increase in activity can reduce obesity, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve heart function.
Scratching your pet behind the ears, petting them and cuddling results in the release of endorphins, which helps diminish feelings of physical pain. This may be able to reduce the amount of medication you need to treat chronic conditions.
According to a study by Penn State, just 18 minutes spent petting an animal causes a significant increase in secretory immunoglobulin A, which is the body's natural antibody against germs. This means owning a pet can lead to fewer doctor's visits for some people.
Owning a pet can lift your spirits and lessen depression. It also decreases your feelings of isolation and encourages communication because you usually speak to your pet when caring for them. Owning a pet reduces boredom and loneliness and provides comfort due to the unconditional love pets show.
One important benefit of pet ownership is the ability to reduce the negative side effects of stress. Pets help you focus on current activities instead of dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, which can also reduce anxiety and depression.
Animals tend to be upbeat and happy creatures by nature. Spending time with an outgoing pet is often enough to bolster anyone's mood. Pets are also extremely good at recognizing when a person is sad or feeling bad and can provide comfort to improve one's mood.
Socialization doesn't have to refer to human contact. Spending time with a four-legged friend is also considered socialization and can help improve a senior's social life. Individuals who own pets also tend to interact with other pet owners, which also opens the door for new friendships and increased opportunities for fellowship with others.
At Autumn View Gardens in Creve Coeur, we know how important pet ownership can be. For residents in our community, pets often play an important part in continued active lifestyles and social activity. If you are interested in what we have to offer, contact us at (866) 255- 9088 to speak to one of our caring staff members.
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