Our older generation is one that should be cherished and nurtured. They are coming to a point in their life where their health is on the decline both mentally and physically. There are many different ways to help them through this aging process, and studies suggest that having a pet companion can benefit the elderly’s health.
A review on 69 original studies regarding human-animal interactions has shown the positive effect of having a pet on the body and mind. The social interaction between human and animal has demonstrated to elicit beneficial chemical reactions that can improve a person’s quality of life. Here are some ways that the elderly can benefit from having a pet companion.
A well-trained animal can have a calming effect on the owner helping to reduce anxiety. While training a puppy to not puddle on the floor can be stressful, having a low maintenance well-trained animal can prove to be beneficial.
In the study, they found that cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine levels were changed when the subject had an animal. These chemicals are closely related to the feeling of anxiety and stress, suggesting that a furry companion may be able to help lower stress levels.
Does your elderly loved one have an issue with high blood pressure? Get them a pooch! A study researching children and their levels of blood pressure showed that when a dog was in the room, their blood pressure was lower. Another study researching undergraduates showed that when the subjects were petting their own dog, their blood pressure was lower. While a healthy diet and exercise are also a great way to reduce high blood pressure, having a friendly pet around can help as well.
Does your loved one have issues with aggression and irritability? Taking care of issues like pain, hunger, and loneliness can help with how they act outward. Adding an animal to the room can possibly give you an even better effect. A study also shows that having an animal in the room can lower aggression. Scientists firmly believe that interacting with animals has an impact on our social skills.
When you loved one has a pet that needs to be walked, this can give them that added motivation to get moving. Even if it is only a twenty-minute walk a day, this exercising routine can help with their weight, cardiovascular issues, building strength, and quality of life.
Quality Of Life
If your loved one sits in their room all day with nothing to do, it can detach them from reality. While pets aren’t the only way to help them re-engage with the world, they are definitely a viable tool. By having a creature to nurture, pet, feed, and walk they are gaining a responsibility that could help with their self-esteem. These animals also show an immense amount of unconditional love that your loved one may be craving.
How To Choose The Right Assisted Living Center
If you are thinking about putting your loved one in an assisted living center, consider one that allows pets. There are even some homes that require pet interaction because they see the benefits of the ownership.
If the living center accepts pets, it is also a good idea to find one that can help your loved one take care of this pet. Some seniors may forget to feed or medicate their animal causing them to neglect their furry companion accidentally. It is always a good idea to make sure they have someone helping them to ensure the pet stays as happy and healthy as they are.