Did you know that 90% of pet owners consider their pets a part of their family? It’s no secret that the unconditional love and companionship provided by pets can have a positive effect on an individual’s health and happiness, but those benefits amplify for seniors who own pets. Studies have shown that owning a dog can lower the risk of dying from any cause by 24%.
One of the biggest benefits of owning a pet as a senior is companionship. Getting older can be a lonely journey. As loved ones or friends move or pass away, it takes a significant toll on mental and often physical health. For seniors who don’t have family nearby or those who have lost their spouse, it can be especially difficult. A pet provides the type of constant companionship that can be both comforting and uplifting in older adults. For seniors, having a pet is more than just gaining a friend; it’s adding a member to their immediate family. In fact, 95% of seniors report that they talk to their pet, and 57% say that they confide in their pet.
Along with a deep-rooted sense of friendship, owning a pet also provides seniors with a greater sense of purpose and direction. As adults age, the human desire to be useful and provide for others doesn’t dwindle, though responsibilities and the ability to do so may. The act of taking care of a pet and being essential to their wellbeing and survival can give seniors the purpose they’ve been missing. In addition, owning a pet requires keeping up with daily routines, which can add a comforting cadence and direction to a senior’s day.
Outside of the emotional support provided by pets, pet ownership has also proven to positively impact physical health. Studies have shown that pets can lower stress, boost immune function, alleviate allergies, and reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. For seniors who gradually become less active, pets encourage movement. Whether it’s walking a dog or cleaning a litter box, even small amounts of activity can make a huge difference in long-term health.
For seniors who are adjusting to the change of living in an assisted or independent living facility, the aforementioned benefits of owning a pet are even more impactful. Having a reliable constant amidst change can be the difference in a loved one having a smooth welcome into independent living or struggling through the transition. At St. Martin’s in the Pines, pets are encouraged and welcome. Our pet-friendly community allows seniors to care for cats, small dogs, and other types of pets. For residents of The Arbors Independent Living, the front desk even provides free dog treats to make furry friends feel right at home.
To learn more about how St. Martin’s in the Pines can be the perfect fit for your loved one and their four-legged best friend, schedule a tour today by clicking here.