The comforting feeling of a dog nuzzling up to you or a sweet cat jumping up in your lap is a feeling everyone, regardless at age, can appreciate. While pets are loving and fun to care for, there are actually many benefits for people who have a pet companion. For seniors and elderly people, pet therapy can be even more beneficial. In recent years, many assisted living and senior centers have started incorporating animals and pets in their programming and activities.
Physical Benefits of Pet Therapy For Seniors
It is no secret that as people age, their levels of activity decrease. Older adults simply are not as active as they probably were when they were younger. Part of this can be attributed to their physical capabilities decreasing, but it is also in part to simply not having a reason to be active. Having a pet or regular animal interaction changes this. Having a pet requires seniors to partake in more physical exercise than those who are without an animal. Between walking a dog, taking your dog out to play, or even just spending time with an animal outdoors, physical activity naturally comes with pet ownership or exposure. Additionally, feeding and grooming can help seniors become more active and increase their physical skills. Studies have also shown that seniors who own pets who have heart conditions tend to outlive those who are not pet owners.
Emotional Benefits of Pet Therapy For Seniors
Life for seniors and elderly people is often an emotional time for many reasons. It is usually vastly different than the life they knew for so long during their younger years. Some seniors may have lost their spouse or significant other and many members of their family or they may be living far away from their loved ones and that can be a time when people feel isolated or lost. Pets and animals provide a source of socialization for seniors and can alleviate some of that loneliness. Animals listen without judgment and provide unbiased attention and affection. Many seniors spend majority of their time alone, especially if their spouse has passed. Owning a pet or even just having a regular interaction with animals can be comforting and give them someone to take care of and nurture, something many people are accustomed to doing. It has been proven that animals can be soothing to those who have difficulty using language or reduced verbal abilities, which are often side affects of conditions that occur later in life.
Psychological Benefits of Pet Therapy For Seniors
In addition to physical and emotional benefits, animals have positive impacts psychologically as well. Animals can be significantly helpful during particularly stressful or anxiety-filled situations. Time spent with animals or caring for them can provide emotional stability and support. This helps reduce anxiety and depression altogether. Seniors often report feeling lonely or depressed as a result of aging, animals can help alleviate that loneliness. A senior’s self confidence and self-esteem can be increased by caring for a pet as well. It gives them a way to feel important, useful, and responsible for something.
Seniors general well-being can be improved by having regular interaction with an animal in their day to day life. Animal ownership may even give new meaning to their life. Overall, being around animals can make seniors feel better, healthier, and happier in various areas of their life.
In addition to animals and pet therapy, professional help for yourself, a parent, spouse or loved one may be a great option for seniors to have a better life. If this is something you are considering call us at 916-933-9777 or visit our website. Our professionals are more than happy to serve those in need of caregiving assistance in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo counties. For daily tips, advice, and news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google Plus.