The Health Benefits of Pets for Seniors

June 16, 2015

Pets bring unconditional love, companionship and entertainment for owners both young and old. Particularly for seniors, animal companionship is an effective way of enriching lives and keeping feelings of isolation and loneliness at bay. According to Pet Partners, those with animals rank their quality of life significantly higher than those who do not own pets.

Here are a few of the many ways pets can have a positive influence on the health and wellbeing of seniors:

Pet Ownership Limits Depression

Pet ownership directly leads to a happier and more social life. According to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, caring for a cat or dog helps seniors overcome depression or loneliness.  

Seniors Stay More Active

Pets help seniors establish routines and get them to do things they might not normally do. Dogs have to be walked, fed, groomed, and played with. They are not meant to stay inside, and love having their owners nearby as they frolic in the sun. These tasks help seniors feel useful, and that is vital for a good quality of life. 

They Help our Hearts

It’s no secret our furry friends can warm our hearts, but they can also help protect them. A study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia found that pet owners generally have lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels than people who do not own pets.  

Staying Connected

One key to a healthy mind is interacting with others. Pets are a great way to spark up a conversation with someone new and can help seniors socialize and make new friends. The National Institute of Health states that people who have more social contact and more friends live longer and are unlikely to decline as quickly as those who do not. 

One of the biggest concerns family members may have when a loved one moves to a senior living community is how to help them maintain a happy and social life. At pet friendly communities like Enlivant, a perfect solution is to encourage your loved one to bring along their beloved four-legged friend.