Owning pets positively impacts seniors' health
As seniors age, their lifestyles often change. For many, this change may mean living alone at home. For others, a lifestyle change involves moving into independent senior living communities. In both of these instances, owning a pet or interacting with a companion animal can not only create a sense of companionship, but also improve seniors’ health. In fact, studies have shown that pets can minimize feelings of loneliness in seniors while encouraging physical activity and social interaction.
Furry friends reduce seniors’ loneliness
Once seniors retire, their daily activities change. What once may have been an active lifestyle full of work and family responsibilities often shifts to a more leisurely lifestyle with less family responsibilities as children become adults and have their own families.
Empty nesters’ feelings of loneliness can be managed with the help of pets. Doing chores around the house or enjoying a quiet dinner at home can be much more enjoyable with a four-legged companion.
Embrace physical activity with a pooch by your side
As people age, their lives often become more sedentary; however, adding a dog to the mix can increase their physical activity levels. Dogs require daily activity and walks, which can encourage seniors to get out of the house at least once a day for a short walk around the neighborhood.
Build seniors’ confidence with pet ownership
Owning pets entails a certain level of responsibility. Dogs, cats, birds, and fish all require daily care and maintenance. For many seniors, having ownership of and caring for a pet can help instill confidence.
Additionally, pets provide intangible support for seniors. Pets live very much in the present; they are not concerned about tomorrow. Pets are a good reminder for seniors to focus on and enjoy the here and now.
Choose the right pet
Although pets have been shown to improve seniors’ health, it is important to choose the right pet. Individuals with more limited mobility or those living in apartment settings should try to avoid high-energy pets that may require additional activity and more space to run around outside. Additionally, allergies can change throughout an individual’s lifetime, so seniors should check with their doctor to ensure a pet would not negatively affect them.
Pets at Holiday Retirement communities
Holiday Retirement offers more than 300 independent senior living communities across the United States. Many of these communities offer residents the option to have their own pets or invite local organizations to bring in animal companions for an afternoon at the community for any of the residents to enjoy. These types of activities serve the seven layers of the Holiday lifestyle, which help residents be more engaged and lead richer, more satisfying lives.
To learn more about one of Holiday Retirement’s communities near you or a loved one, click here.