Why Senior Citizens Should Own a Pet

Why Senior Citizens Should Own a Pet

Why Senior Citizens Should Own a PetMany people own pets, but no population needs one more than senior citizens. Owning a pet has many benefits that can help seniors feel better about their life and improve their health. If you’re considering a pet, read about all of the advantages of one here.

The Perks Pets Provide

Pets are friends. They are loyal and can gauge how you feel and what you are thinking. They know when you’re sad, happy, and will try to make you feel better. While this may sound like invented benefits from a dog lover, there’s scientific evidence behind it.

The American Heart Association has studied the effects of dogs, and have found that it can lower the risk of heart disease and can even lead to greater longevity. Some other studies identified by HelpGuide.org finds that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. Lower blood pressure, and higher levels of serotonin and dopamine are all associated with owning a dog. It’s even been found that people who own pets over the age of 65 visit the doctor fewer times.

Researchers at the University of California – Davis have found that Alzheimer’s patients experience less stress and anxiety when they have a dog or cat. It’s the ability to touch the pet and the nonverbal communication that helps them stay calm.

Caregivers also find that clients who own pets are much easier to work with due to two reasons:

  1. The pet provides stress relief to the caregiver.
  2. The client or family member is much calmer, so it makes it easier to work with him or her.

Why Pets Help Seniors

The reasoning behind the therapeutic benefits of owning a dog is that humans need to touch. When they pet or hug a dog, it affects their body and mind. It calms and relaxes people, and that is what sparks the lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It also boosts serotonin and dopamine levels (related to your mood), which helps you feel happier.

What some people don’t consider is that a pet such as a dog needs exercise. This can help a lot of seniors get out of the house, which increases their physical activity. This, in turn, helps fight many medical conditions.

Companionship is another consideration. When you don’t have anyone around you, it’s more likely you’ll feel lonely. With a pet, you’ll have that animal right by your side keeping you company.

What You Should Own

Dogs provide the most benefits, there are many health benefits to owning a dog, but cats are good too. The only disadvantage to owning a cat is that you don’t get the exercise, as you do with a dog. However, seniors who have limited mobility may find that a cat is perfect for them.

If dogs and cats aren’t your style of pet ownership, birds, hamsters, and other small pets can be beneficial as well. It’s the act of holding and petting animals that will help you feel better mentally and physically.

The Only Thing Pets Do Not Provide

Unfortunately, pets cannot have a conversation with you. While they do have their own way of communicating, they simply cannot talk with you like a personal confidant can. That’s why Kendall Van Blarcom is here for you. With personal consulting sessions along with a pet, you will have everything you need. You’ll be able to cuddle with your pet, get the exercise he and you need, and then have a good old fashioned conversation with someone who understands you and wants to listen to you.

Contact Kendall Van Blarcom today for more information on how personal consulting can help you.

Image courtesy of Vlado from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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