Anyone who has owned a pet understands and will vouch for how therapeutic they are. Getting older often coincides with fewer interactions with others, due to lack of mobility, cognitive ability, health issues or a number of other reasons. Owning a pet can help combat the inevitable feelings of loneliness, isolation and downheartedness. Always having a companion around can really make getting up worthwhile and we highly recommend getting one!
Research has shown that having a pet around has several benefits for older adults. A few of them include:
- Higher levels of activity.
- Studies show that owning a pet lowers blood pressure.
- Reduce stress.
- Increase social interaction.
Dr Jay P Grant, who is a psychotherapist in New Jersey stated “Dogs and cats live very much in the present. They don’t worry about tomorrow, which can be a very scary concept for an older person. An animal embodies that sense of here and now, and it tends to rub off on people.”
In this type of symbiotic relationship, it’s not only the seniors that benefit. The animals go from a shelter or pound to paradise. Older retired people tend to have more free time to devote to their pets, creating a lasting bond and ensuring they are well taken care of.
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As there are numerous positive aspects of older adults owning pets, we need to take into account the possible drawbacks and limitations. A few things to consider are:
- Have they owned a pet before?
- Do they have any physical limitations that would impact the care of the pet?
- Are finances an issue? Pets can be a costly addition to a fixed income.
- Where will the pet go if health deteriorates or the owner passes away?
Pets can be a great way to give relief to the seniors in your life. Take a look at all the options and make the best decision that fits with your circumstances! Everyone deserves a companion and pets are an opportunity for them to feel less lonely!
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