Pets- Numerous Benefits for the Elderly

Pets for the Elderly: Research

Have you ever owned a pet?  I have owned two dogs.  I know that pets can relieve stress (and sometimes add some!)  Wanting to know more about seniors and the benefits of pet ownership, I did some research and found this site very informative.

http://www.petsfortheelderly.org

It is a non-profit that “helps pay the fees to participating animal shelters throughout the United States for senior citizens (age 60 and over) who adopt a companion dog or cat from a participating shelter — including pre-adoption veterinary exams and spay/neuter, if part of the adoption fee”.

On their home page, they have a “research” link and it has lots of supporting information as to why a senior, in particular benefits from owning a pet.  Just a few quick points from their site that I found interesting:

  • Pets allow for physical touch (especially important if a senior lives alone)
  • Pets keep seniors more physically and mentally active (for example, getting out daily and walking the dog)
  • Pets help seniors build relationships (they talk more often with neighbors and strangers)
  • Pets give seniors a purpose (as they must provide daily care for the pet)
  • Pets take a senior’s mind off their aches and pains (at least temporarily)

I had a great-aunt who had no children and I also have an aunt who has no children.  Both owned multiple cats.  If I remember the story correctly, my great-aunt who died had one of her cats cremated and buried with her.  (A little over the top for me, but if a cat is truly like a child to you, I can perhaps relate).  Over the years, I heard numerous stories about their connection and great love for their cats.

We all know that people can have tremendous love for a pet.  A few months ago on a bike ride here in Germany, I saw something I’d never seen before.  A pet owner was pulling his little dog in a carrier behind his bike.  Imagine, a dog going on a family bike ride!  Our seniors need someone to love and care for; pets can provide such love.

For more information on this topic, click on the blue link above.

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