Pets have been attributed with providing many things to mankind, first among those being joy and affection. However, the wealth of benefits that pets offer humans are considerably more.
Health Benefits of Owning a Pet
Studies have been done providing evidence that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, encourage social interaction and increase physical exercise (especially if you have a dog you walk). These same studies have also shown that pets can improve the health in our elderly population.
An elderly person who is still living alone, that is, not residing in a residential facility, is greatly benefited by owning a pet. One of the more important factors being that pet ownership can combat depression that stems from loneliness and/or isolation.
Statistics show that there has been a 15% increase in pet adoptions since the Covid-19 pandemic. This is directly attributed to the isolation factor that is a result of that pandemic.
It is likewise reported that pet owners have a higher survival rate, with fewer heart attacks, less loneliness, better blood pressure readings, an increase in self-esteem and even better sleeping patterns.
Of course, there are some negative factors regarding pet ownership. Among those are allergic reactions, stress and panic attacks. I’m guessing panic attacks and stress are related to the care and protection one must give to a pet. Perhaps you are a person that is “high-strung” and panic if you think your animal will get loose or lost. Or you simply don’t have the energy to take care of a pet.
Then consider that there are alternatives to the popular ownership of dogs and cats (both furry and potential allergy-enhancers). The following list give you a suggestion for such pets:
Pet Rocks (not really, but I thought it would be fun to throw that out)
Fish - fish can actually be a fun pet to own. Not only is there a great variety of choices (and those choices begin with salt or fresh water tanks) but they take little upkeep, especially if you set a healthy environment for them.
Birds – why not get a bird, either parakeets, finches or canaries. I wouldn’t suggest a parrot unless you have time to spend with them. They require a lot more interaction than one of the aforementioned birds
Recently, more and more senior facilities are incorporating therapy animals (also known as Animal Assisted Therapy) in their programs. There is documentation on how therapy animals are successful in promoting health and healing with those who are depressed and saddled with chronic illnesses and/or disabilities.
With pets having the ability to increase the overall wellbeing of the elderly, why not think about adopting a pet for your mom or dad or else talking to the facility where they reside about incorporating a pet therapy program.
Call Missy Donaghy with Interiors for Seniors for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.
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