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5 Health Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Health benefits of pets for seniors

As you age, it’s not uncommon for your circle of close family and friends to get smaller. Loved ones move or pass away, leaving you feeling lonely and somewhat isolated. One way seniors are finding comfort in their changing social status is with a new pet.

The health benefits of pets for seniors are numerous. Below are just a few of the reasons a pet could be a great option for senior citizens looking for companionship:

1. Create a Routine

Pets, especially dogs, are a responsibility. They can provide a person’s life with structure and purpose. When it’s hard to get the day started, a dog can help you stay motivated.

2. Daily Exercise

As you age, exercise becomes even more important to maintain bone strength, heart health, flexibility and more. Pets help you make walking a part of your everyday routine, providing you with valuable cardiovascular exercise that is beneficial to your overall health and wellness.

3. Stress

Studies show that seniors who have pets often have lower stress levels than those who don’t have an animal to care for. The exercise, companionship, and responsibility accompanying owning a pet can help lower your stress levels and tackle life’s unexpected challenges.

4. Socialization

It can be difficult to meet new friends as you age, but pets can be the perfect ice breaker at parks, charitable events, or even within your community. Making friends with other pet owners is a great way to stay socially and physically active.

5. Finding Purpose

As mentioned earlier, rescuing or purchasing a pet means you’re committing to the responsibility of caring for another life. This commitment is a positive decision that can help you find happiness and purpose each day.

While the initial adjustment to a new pet might be challenging, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to adding a furry friend to your home.

How to Find the Right Pet for You

When it comes to the health benefits of pets for seniors, the type of pet you choose can make all the difference. If you’ve had a pet before, it’s best to stick with what you know. Taking on the responsibility of an entirely new type of pet can be stressful and cause more issues than health benefits.

It’s also best to consider adopting cats or dogs that are out of the kitten or puppy stage and thoroughly trained. The goal is to find a pet that will provide you companionship and exercise, not a pet that will require intensive care, attention and training. Senior pets often need stable homes, and adopting one is an excellent opportunity for you to make a positive impact and fill your life with more love. 

When looking for the right pet, it’s best to go visit it in person and get acquainted with it in a neutral setting before ever committing to taking it home with you. This will ensure you make the right decision for you and your new furry friend. Getting a pet is a big decision, so think long and hard about what feels right for you.

Pet-Friendly Senior Living Focused on Your Wellness

As a retirement community offering a lifecare contract, Essex Meadows leads the way in comprehensive senior living in Essex, CT. Our senior wellness program incorporates multiple dimensions of fulfillment to focus on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. At our pet-friendly senior living community, you can design days to help you feel healthy, happy and engaged. Learn more about Essex Meadows, a community that offers vibrant independent living backed by a full continuum of on-site long-term care.