The joy of owning a pet is one that never grows old, no matter your age. Pets often prove to be beneficial for their owner’s good health and have shown to help the senior owner live longer. Older adults and dogs make good companions due to regularity of habits. They get up at the same time, eat at the same time, and take a walk at the same time.
Researchers are finding that loneliness is one of the most serious diseases for older adults and that pets can be one of nature’s best resources of unconditional love, a very important health tonic. Many older adults often spend time thinking about the future. Pets are more concerned about “now moments” including when it is time to go for a walk or play, and the treat they will receive for good behavior. Pets provide opportunities to interact with people. They are a great conversation starter which can lead to new friendships.
Owning a pet can help reduce stress and depression, lower blood pressure and lessen loneliness. There are multiple benefits to seniors having a pet who may be their only companion. The comfort system they provide can produce a chemical chain reaction in the brain that helps to lower the lever of the stress inducing hormone, and increase the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. This in return can help lower cholesterol, fight depression, and help protect against heart conditions.
Seniors should consider several things when choosing their pet including the size and breed. Smaller breed dogs are ideal for older adults, but not too small as to worry about tripping over them when walking. Smaller breed dogs do not need as much room for running and exercise, can be picked up easier, and less likely to pull their owner down when walking on a leash. The size of the pet should also be considered if moving into a retirement community or assisted living facility where most require the pet to be 25 pounds or under.
Many pet owners have been dog only owners and are often pleasantly surprised when transitioning to being a cat owner. A cat can be less expensive to care for, less demanding and enable the owner to be away from home if necessary with a caregiver checking in regularly. They are happy to stay inside all day.
The Bedford County Humane Society is the perfect place to start when considering adopting a pet and this is especially true for seniors. Many dogs and cats surrendered to the Human Society are adult pets whose previous family could no longer care for them for a variety of reasons. Often they are house-trained and may understand some commands. You can see the personality of the adult pet and will receive immediate appreciation for giving them a forever home.
Do we have you thinking about adding a pet to your family? Maybe a trip the Humane Society will help you find your perfect companion. The Bedford County Humane Society, a
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