You know the old saying, “A dog is man’s best friend”. But perhaps you haven’t heard that “A pet is a senior’s key to health”. The truth is, the benefits for a senior owning a pet are seemingly endless, and it goes far beyond companionship. Here are some of the top reasons why having a pet is key to senior health:
- Your daily routine. Pets require daily care – from waking up to let them out, feeding, and of course, walking. A minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise is recommended for all people of any age, and having a dog who depends on you to get those 30 minutes of walking every day provides all the motivation needed. Anyone who has a pet also knows that they will certainly alert you to meal time – reminding you of the importance of regular, nutritious meals.
- Disease prevention. Many studies have been conducted to prove or disprove the myth that owning a pet prevents diseases – and all conclude that the presence of a pet significantly lowers risks of aging-related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and instances of depression. One example comes from Australia’s Baker Medical Research Institute, where more than five thousand people who visited the center for cardiovascular evaluation were surveyed, specifically analyzing the patients’ diet, exercise habits, whether or not they smoked, and blood pressure. In their findings, the medical researchers stated that those who owned pets had significantly reduced levels of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- Loneliness as a killer. It’s no secret that lonely seniors have significantly reduced health. Loneliness can instigate a host of health problems, from depression and anxiety, insecurity, and often neglect for personal health. Having that unconditional love that only pets can give us is often the key to turning around a senior’s life and improving health.
If you have ever had a pet, I’m sure you can recall how that animal affected your life for the better. For a senior who suffers from health problems or loneliness, a wagging tail could absolutely change their life!