Do pets actually help improve ‘health’?
Experts say YES…Pet ownership can be good for your health both physically and psychologically…
Research indicates owning a pet helps reduce stress and blood pressure in owners, they increase longevity in those who’ve had heart attacks, and even relax and improve the appetites of Alzheimer’s patients…according to many psychologists owning a pet provides attention to something other than the patient themselves…
And we all know how difficult it can be to get some seniors (and others) exercising during the day…problem solved if you have a pet. Dogs insist on getting out and about, hence they have a strong tendency to get their owners moving…VOILA, instant daily exercise. In turn, studies continue to show that exercise helps improve your spirits…so instead of a vicious cycle of prompting your loved one to get up and moving without the slightest result…the pet has helped to create a positive one…and that’s a win win solution!
Pets have also been known to stave off loneliness. Some seniors (and others) may actually consider their pets their “companion of choice”.
However, please remember, if you are considering introducing a live animal to a senior household to make sure you do plenty of research…choose a pet whose personality, size and requirements fit your senior’s needs, abilities and living situation…and don’t opt for more than ONE…more animals do not mean more health, just more responsibilities.
Lastly, even though pets bring many psychological benefits it’s important not to let your loved ones become too dependent on those animal companions…in the end pets should NOT be a substitute for human friends and family.