In honor of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, which occurs on the last Wednesday of every May (this year, May 25, 2022), we wanted to take a moment to discuss some of the benefits pets can have on the mental and physical health of seniors.
Benefits Pets Can Have on Seniors’ Mental and Physical Health
In addition to other health benefits for seniors, having a pet provides companionship. Seniors regularly taking their pets out for walks are also achieving an excellent form of exercise, rather than spending more time at home in a sedentary lifestyle.
Pets provide several benefits to the mental health of pet owners of all ages. For seniors, though, these effects can be monumental. From connecting with others, providing a sense of purpose, reducing the risk of depression, and providing comfort and safety, it’s clear that a furry companion is an excellent idea for seniors.
Connect with Others
Pets provide companionships, allowing seniors to cope with physical and emotional symptoms they may be undergoing through the aging process. Because of this connection, seniors with pets often exhibit the following positive results:
Increase in gentleness
Improved social skills
Increase in caring
Increase in empathy
Provide a Sense of Purpose
Because animals are highly emotional and intelligent creatures, they respond to their surroundings, including pain in those around them. They can also help provide seniors with a sense of purpose. Having this connection with an animal may allow seniors to feel loved.
When seniors love and take care of their own pets, they have a heightened sense of responsibility and belonging.
Reduce the Risk of Depression
Pets can help reduce the threat of depression in seniors because they reduce stress and loneliness levels. Serotonin, the happy hormone, is released when we spend time bonding with an animal. Serotonin also helps to lower blood pressure and increase overall positivity.
Seniors gain a sense of fulfillment when they regularly set aside time to care for their pets, such as cleaning, feeding, and grooming. Pet care can be helpful for seniors because having a structure and routine for the pet becomes mutually beneficial.
Safety and Comfort
Because they feel afraid, many seniors, especially those living alone, find it difficult to go out at night or sleep well. Pets also provide seniors with a sense of comfort and safety for those who are afraid of being attacked or kidnapped and feel defenseless.
Better sleep for their owners and peace of mind tends to result from owners with dogs that allow people to feel much safer and protected.
While different levels of physical activity are required for different pets, walking your dog regularly or bringing your pet out for exercise can benefit a senior’s health. More frequent exercise for this age group can result in:
Increased vitamin D
Increased bone health
Increased heart health
Reduction in weight
Increased mental alertness
Reduction of chronic diseases
Increased physical activity will ensure that muscles and joints are healthy. In addition to the physical aspect of bringing your dog out for a walk, it also allows seniors the opportunity to socialize and build new relationships.
Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture Takes Care of Your Pets Who Care For the Seniors You Love
When it comes to seniors and pets, there is no denying the benefits these relationships can have on mental and physical health. That’s why it’s crucial to take care of the pets who are taking care of the seniors you love. Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture is here to help provide the level of care your pet or the pet of your loved one may need.
You can look at the benefits of veterinary acupuncture, and feel free to contact us with any additional questions you might have. You can also schedule a video consultation with Dr. Kho, who can discuss your pet and address any questions or concerns you may have about veterinary acupuncture!