Seniors’ mental health might be improved by having dogs as companions! Learn the advantages of owning pets, why adopting older animals is the best option, and what resources are available for senior animal rescues.
Our social networks may get smaller as we become older, increasing the risk of loneliness. This is especially true for elderly people who may have retired, lost a spouse, or witnessed the departure of their children.
Including dogs in senior citizens’ lives is one strategy for overcoming these unfavorable feelings. According to research, having a pet can significantly improve one’s mental health and general well-being.
Experts investigate how older people and the aging population can benefit from having pets. We also discuss the benefits of senior persons adopting older animals and offer links for senior animal rescue organizations.
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Benefits of Pet Parenthood for Senior citizen
Seniors who have pets as companions may experience less loneliness and isolation. The unconditional love and sense of purpose provided by a pet can lead to a happier, more contented existence.
Decreased anxiety and stress
Pet interaction can reduce stress hormones and release endorphins, which have a relaxing impact. Seniors who do this may be able to better control their stress and anxiety.
A greater degree of social interaction
Having a pet, especially a dog, helps promote interpersonal communication. Talking to other pet owners while walking your dog around the neighborhood or at a dog park might help you feel less alone and foster a sense of community.
Improvement in cognitive function
Taking care of a pet helps keep seniors intellectually active and cognitively stimulated. Those who are experiencing mild cognitive impairment may find this to be especially beneficial.
Improving both people’s and pets’ golden years
It can be advantageous for both senior adults and the animal to adopt a senior pet. An older person may want to consider adopting a senior pet for the following reasons:
- Temperament that is calm and gentle: Senior pets frequently have a more laid-back disposition than younger animals. Seniors who might not have the energy to handle a playful puppy or kitten may find this to be the perfect solution.
- Older animals often already know how to use the bathroom and have a basic command set. Seniors may find it simpler to care for their new companion as a result of not having to worry about training.
- Similar energy levels: Because elderly pets frequently need less exercise than younger animals, seniors may find it easier to keep up with a senior pet. This can keep elders engaged without making them feel overburdened.
- Saving a life: Senior pets have a higher danger of being put to death in shelters and are less likely to be adopted. Seniors can improve their own life while giving a senior pet a happy home by adopting one. They might even feel more purposeful as a result of it.
How Animals Can Help?
Pet owners reported that their animals provide them with a feeling of purpose (73%), alleviate stress (79%), make them feel loved (86%), and help them enjoy life (88%). In addition, respondents said that having a pet helps them feel more socially connected (65%), stay physically active (78% of dog owners) and cope with symptoms of physical and emotional distress (60%, including distracting them from pain (34%).
Seventy-two percent of those who were physically in fair or poor health lived alone and claimed their dogs helped them deal with physical or mental issues. 46% of people in fair or poor physical condition and 2 in 5 people who live alone said that their dogs help them forget about their discomfort.
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Owning a pet has a positive impact on senior citizens’ mental health. Pets can improve cognitive performance while also fostering social connection, reducing stress and anxiety, and providing companionship.
Older people can enjoy these advantages while also giving an animal in need a loving home by adopting a senior pet. Senior pets are a great choice for the aging population since they frequently have placid temperaments and require less training. Finding an elderly pet to spend your golden years with has never been simpler thanks to tools like the organizations mentioned above.