For many elderly people, it’s hard for them to accept the consequences of aging. From chronic illness and mobility issues to loneliness and low energy, some seniors face an uphill battle in staying healthy and maintaining a social life. Perhaps that’s why so many elderly adults suffer with depression, loneliness, and poor health habits. Family caregivers that are responsible for an elderly loved one may be interested in pet therapy to boost their emotional and physical well-being.
Pet therapy requires seniors to interact in specific ways with animals such as dogs, cats or birds. Pet therapy can encompass emotional or mental health issues or provide motivation for physical improvements. Research shows that when the elderly interact with animals via pet therapy, the benefits are numerous.
Here are 5 benefits of pet therapy for seniors:
1. Increase in Exercise and Mobility
Many seniors ted to slow down as they age, and physical impairments such as arthritis, strokes and more can make moving around more difficult. Pet therapy means that seniors have to engage in physical activity in order to interact with the animals. Because seniors are highly motivated to do so, they push through the difficulty and pain they experience to interact with the pet. The simple act of walking, playing, grooming and feeding a pet boosts physical activity levels in seniors.
2. Positive Effects on Mental Health
Often undiagnosed, many seniors experience depression, anxiety and isolation. Mental health can deteriorate rapidly with age, but pet therapy can positively impact an elderly person’s life. Studies show that pet therapy can reduce depression and anxiety. Bonding with a pet can reduce loneliness and boost social interactions. Pet therapy can even stimulate memories and recall in dementia patients, according to therapists.
3. Facilitates Socialization
Few people can resist interacting with a friendly dog, cat or bird and seniors are no different. Not only do they socialize with the animals and their therapists, but seniors find that pets are fine conversation starters and increase opportunities of interacting with others. Seniors often interact more with caregivers, therapists, veterinarians, other pet owners and neighbors thanks to pet therapy.
4. Improves Health and Wellness
Medical research shows that pet therapy can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol in elderly adults. Seniors that use pet therapy are less likely to require doctor visits and don’t take as much unnecessary medication. In addition, pet therapy can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease due to increased activity. Also, petting an animal triggers the release of serotonin, a hormone that helps relieve stress.
5. Sense of Purpose
It’s difficult to face the effects of old age and many seniors lose their sense of purpose. Pet therapy provides them with feelings of importance and competence. Pets provide unconditional love and forge important bonds with seniors to make them feel worthwhile. Pet therapy also helps seniors establish a routine, take better care of themselves and stay active.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING HIRING IN-HOME CAREGIVERS IN APACHE JUNCTION, AZ, PLEASE CALL THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE SCOTTSDALE. WE ARE HERE TO HELP!