Pets and Older People are a pretty great combination.
Human’s have had pets for centuries, and when you look at the positive impact they can have to your life… it’s no wonder why! We know pets can improve our mood and wellbeing but did you know that they also have proven health benefits? As we get older pets remain an important part of your life, providing companionship and support. That’s why we’ve put together some reasons pets and older people go hand in hand.
With your Home Care Package you can stay living at home on your own terms, which also means being able to stay with your pet.
Let’s look at six reasons having a pet is good for you…
What are the benefits of Pets and Older People?
1. Pets Improve Communication.
For people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s pets provide an ability to communicate non-verbally. A study in Michigan found that pets were capable of generating social responses from those suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. There were even cases where individuals were not responding to human interactions but did respond to pets.
2. Pets make you more social.
Having a pet is of course a responsibility and will mean changes to your daily routine. In saying this, many of these changes will positively benefit your socialisation. Even if this is just in the form of daily walks, (which you can hire a carer to do if you aren’t capable) you are able to interact with other people in your neighbourhood. Dog Parks or Pet clubs are a great way of meeting like-minded individuals who also love their pooch! For more tips on socialising as an older person, check out this blog post: https://letsgetcare.com.au/10-tips-for-socialising-as-an-older-australian/
3. Pets increase your Mobility.
Having a dog that requires walking is pretty self-explanatory in terms of increase of your mobility. But even housebound pets, like cats, birds, or fish that require feeding and petting will increase your mobility around the house.
When you have a pet that requires care it helps to establish a routine which studies have shown give people a reason to get up in the morning and improve their ability to perform daily tasks.
4. Pets make an amazing companion.
Dogs are called ‘man’s best friend’ for a reason. A lot of older Australian’s mention feeling lonely and socially isolated. The companionship of a pet can help lessen these feelings. An animal gives you something to pet and cuddle which is proven to give people a sense of comfort.
5. Having a pet keeps your heart happy in more ways than one.
Not only will having a pet increase your mood, there is scientific research that shows it is beneficial for your physical health. A study done in Melbourne by Baker Medical Research Institution discovered that there were lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure in pet owners. The study was done over a 3 year period with 5,741 participants and even accounted for personal factors such as diet, weight and smoking status.
You might assume this is just down to the fact that pet owners are more active but in fact even pet owners who drank more alcohol and ate take-out food had lower levels of cholesterol.
6. Adopting a Pet is a win/win for both of you.
This option is a win for both Pets and Older People! There are lots of pets that are in need of a forever home. If you think adopting a puppy might be too much of a handful for you, with the exercise and house training involved – maybe adopting a senior pet is a better solution.
There are many benefits to adopting an older pet. They are house trained, have already developed their personality, don’t require as much exercise and are often calmer than a newborn.
The RSPCA also allows you to adopt pets who are 10+ without a fee. With years of experience at being man’s best friend, senior pets waste no time taking on the role of a loyal companion.
You can see more about adopting a senior pet here: RSPCA
Pets and Older People Resources:
Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease – National Center for Biotechnology Information
The Effect of a Therapy Dog on Socialisation and Physiological Indicators of Stress in Persons Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease – SAGE Knowledge
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post about pets and older people, and you have learnt some new tips about the benefits.