Caring for a pet could have a tremendously positive impact for seniors, improving their quality of life.
Pets provide intangibles that can have a positive impact on the life of an elderly person. The human and pet bond is unlike any other. According to Dr. Jay P. Granat, a New Jersey psychotherapist who spoke with agingcare.com, “Dogs and pets live very much in the here and now. They don’t worry about tomorrow, and tomorrow can be very scary for an older person. By having an animal with that sense of now, it tends to rub off on people.”
U.S. News and World Report recently published an article highlighting 10 reasons a pet is vital in the later years of life.
Loneliness is unfortunately a common feeling among the older generation. It is important to tackle this problem before it escalates into depression or causes physical problems. A pet, such as a dog, conforms their life to your schedule. They are never unavailable and smaller dogs can even easily travel with you.
2. Developing a Routine
Caring for a dog will naturally develop a routine that can bring structure and purpose to daily life. For example, an elderly person battling loneliness may feel no desire to get out of bed on a daily basis. A pet is dependent on you and requires you to be active for their well-being.
3. Exercise and Fresh Air
Exercise is important for people of all ages, but it’s especially vital in the later stages of life. Forming a regular exercise routine can be a tough task for many individuals. Having a pet can help cultivate a habit such as daily walking which cannot be as easily skipped as a morning aerobics class.
4. Reduce Stress
Studies show that older people without pets are prone to more stress. Taking a pet for walks or sharing companionship with this new friend can have a significant impact on your stress levels. Additionally, waking up each morning to a pet that has unconditional love and happiness for you can be an instant mood-booster.
5. Out and About
Pets, particularly dogs, generally don’t prefer being stuck indoors. Being a pet-owner often requires outdoor activity and social interaction. Whether it’s a trip to the vet, groomer or even just a casual stroll in the park, a pet helps you stay connected with life outside your home.
6. New Acquaintances
Pet owners often participate in many of the same activities. There are plenty of communal walks, charitable events and special projects that cater to animals and the environment. Additionally, when meeting new people, a pet can be a great conversation starter.
7. Discovering New Interests
Since a pet requires you to be socially active, you will find yourself also discovering new interests and hobbies. You might find that you want to start a clean-up project at the local dog park, or that your dog makes the perfect volunteer to spend time with patients at a hospital.
8. A Sense of Security
Living alone can make you feel uneasy at times, especially as you get older. Having a dog not only provides companionship but also a feeling of security. A barking dog is a great warning system and also a strong deterrent for potential intruders.
9. A Sense of Purpose
It’s not uncommon for elderly people to feel a lack of purpose after their career ends or their kids build their own independent lives. Your pet is dependent on you and can provide the satisfying feeling of caring for another living thing. This can be particularly true if you rescue and care for a pet living in a shelter. Toronto Humane Society is a great resource for those who wish to adopt an animal.
10. A Life Investment
Having a pet means you’ve committed to involving yourself in another life. A pet may only be around for a part of your life, but for them, you are around for their whole life. Embarking on life’s journey together is one of the most positive decisions you can make as you grow older.
Caring for a pet is a major decision and should not be taken lightly. However, if you find you are capable of owning a pet, it can truly be a rewarding experience that can help to improve the quality of your life.
Pets typically prefer to be active and you will often find them on their own adventures within your home, including upstairs. Don’t let the stairs in your home prevent you from spending quality time with your pet. A Stannah Stairlift will allow you to safely and independently navigate your home and ensure you never have to worry about being apart from your pet.