5 Wonderful Ways Pets Can Support Senior Wellness
Guest Post by Jenny Wise
As we age, we experience changes in our physical and mental health which can interfere with our quality of life. It’s not uncommon for seniors to face feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and physical health concerns. But pets may offer a solution to these age-related challenges. Pets provide countless mental, physical, social, and emotional benefits to seniors. In this article, you’ll learn why adopting a pet may offer support to you or a senior loved one.
Caring for Your Furry Friend
Adopting a pet is a great way to gain a sense of purpose and responsibility in your senior years. Make sure you’re up for this responsibility! Pets are a lot of work, so it’s important that you or someone in your household is physically, financially, and emotionally prepared to care for a pet.
All pets require a nutritious diet. Try to find dog food that contains real meat as the first ingredient, is low in carbs, and has been cooked slowly to retain flavor and nutrients. With air-dried beef dog food on the menu, you can feel confident that your pet is consuming high-quality protein and all the other essential nutrients they need to thrive.
1. Pets Encourage Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is vital to your well-being at any age, but seniors are particularly vulnerable to long periods of inactivity. Taking daily walks is a great way to keep your body moving. And adopting a dog can motivate you to get outside and provide a welcome companion for those active outings! Your dog might even encourage you to go on hikes or spend time relaxing at the park, which is a fantastic opportunity to soak up beneficial vitamin D!
2. Pets Provide Stress Relief
Several studies have found that pets can reduce the stress levels of their owners. According to HopkinsMedicine.org, the very act of petting a dog can reduce blood levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. At the same time, interacting with a dog triggers the release of feel-good hormones like oxytocin. These stress-relieving effects can subsequently lower blood pressure and boost heart health!
3. Pets Encourage Socialization
Similar to how pets encourage us to get outside and move, they can also promote social interaction. Taking your pet out on a walk opens new opportunities for socialization with neighbors, other pet owners, and passers-by who want to say hello to your furry friend. American Kennel Club explains that dogs can even enhance our social interactions! Research shows that pets encourage us to be more open, positive, and lighthearted in conversations with strangers.
4. Pets Foster a Sense of Security
If you’re a senior living alone, adopting a pet may help you feel more secure. Their companionship can be particularly comforting if you deal with loneliness or feelings of isolation. Plus, dogs are known for being protective and can be trained to alert you of potential dangers, like the sound of an intruder or a stranger approaching the house. At the same time, pets offer routine and stability, which can be reassuring to seniors who may feel uncertain or anxious about their daily lives.
5. Pets Support Seniors with Memory Impairment
If you’re looking for ways to support a loved one with memory impairment, adopting a family pet might be a great move. Dogs that are calm, friendly, and easy to train can provide a sense of comfort and connection to seniors with memory issues.
Pets can have a powerful impact on the physical and mental health of seniors. If you do decide to adopt a pet, ensure they are well cared for and fed a high-quality diet. Care for your pet, and they’ll care for you!
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