The Benefits of Owning a Pet for the Elderly
It’s no secret that Australians love our pets. As of 2021, there are almost 30 million pets in Australia, with the average being 3 pets per household, wow! But this isn’t surprising—there are a huge range of mental and physical benefits of pet ownership, especially for older adults.
Keep reading to find out how a pet could benefit you or your loved one’s life!
Most of us beam with joy when we see a puppy, kitten, or furry friend. And there’s a good reason! Research has shown that interacting with animals boosts oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone found in the brain. Plus, animals—especially pets, have been known to ward off depression, reduce general anxiety, and increase overall happiness.
Also, as we age, our social circles often dwindle, and family and friends may visit less. Loneliness is a real concern for Australian older adults, and can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health. However, many older adults find that pet ownership offers friendship, and greatly reduces feelings of loneliness. Our pets really do become part of the family, and can keep us feeling fulfilled, loved, and with a sense of purpose.
Did you know that pet ownership can have a beneficial impact on our physical health, too? Studies have shown that older adults who own pets, specifically dogs, may have increased cardiovascular health. This includes lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol for men. Plus, most animals encourage a higher level of physical activity. For example, dogs should be walked daily. And even the general maintenance of pets like cats, chickens, and birds, require a small amount of lifting, bending, and stretching. Overall, pets encourage us to be healthier, just by being themselves!
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Remember—when adopting a pet, you’re committing to caring for that pet for the rest of their life. So, don’t make the decision lightly, and make sure to do your research beforehand.
Also, for older adults, consider the age of the pet you’re taking home. Older pets—like dogs and cats, may have higher medical bills as they age. But they’ll also need less training, and can be less physically demanding. Whereas puppies and kittens may require more energy and maintenance than an older adult can muster.
Could you use some help preparing your home for a new pet? Here at After-Care, we offer cleaning, domestic care, and home maintenance, as part of our in home care. To find out more about our in home aged care services, click here. Or click here to contact us today.