Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors
Anyone who currently lives with a furry friend like a dog or cat already knows that having a relationship with an animal brings all sorts of rewards with it, and that’s not just our opinion; multiple published studies have backed up the idea that owning a pet can provide much-needed companionship, can be good for the heart, and can improve the overall health and well-being of people of all ages. That’s why we’ve made Summerset Senior Living a pet-friendly senior living community so our residents can experience all these benefits and more. Here’s more about the relationship between pet ownership and good health, and how seniors can benefit from owning a pet.
Pet Ownership and Heart Health
The Journal of the American Heart Association, among other scholarly journals, has reported that owning a pet may do wonders for your cardiovascular health. In the numerous studies outlined in the Journal, participants have stated a wide range of health benefits associated with owning a pet including lower systemic blood pressure, lower rates of obesity, lower resting heart rate, and smaller increases in heart rate and blood pressure in response to stress. After crunching the numbers, the Journal concluded that pet ownership, and dog ownership in particular, is probably associated with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). While the relationship between dog ownership and reduced CVD risk is not completely understood, researchers believe it may have something to do with dog walking and the increased physical activity levels that come with properly caring for a dog.
The Benefits of Having a Furry Companion
Of course, the benefits of pet ownership aren’t just about reduced CVD risk; companionship is another reason seniors might want to consider owning a pet. Whether you live at home or in a senior living community, getting older can sometimes be a lonely experience. Friends and family may not always have time to visit, and losing loved ones can be devastating. Owning a pet can help you find a companion who loves you unconditionally, and can give you brand new opportunities to socialize. Take your dog over to the park and you’re certain to meet plenty of other dog owners and new friends who can enrich your life in so many ways. One thing’s for sure: you’re never lonely when you have a pet to keep you company!
Pet Ownership and Mental Health
Although it’s difficult to get accurate numbers on depression rates in the senior community, the CDC has reported estimates anywhere from 1% to 5% in otherwise healthy seniors, and anywhere from 11.5% to 13.5% in those who require home healthcare or who are currently staying in a hospital. Depression is more than just “feeling blue”; it’s a real and treatable medical condition that causes symptoms like hopelessness, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, cognitive impairment, physical pain, and suicide attempts. A study published in Physiogeriatrics showed that interaction with pets may be able to improve depression symptoms by as much as 50%, and that participants reported a perceived increase in their quality of life when subjected to pet therapy. Once again, further study is needed to confirm and establish causality of this effect, but any pet owner will tell you that having a furry friend around is a great way to brighten anyone’s day.
If you’re senior who already owns a pet or you would like to own a pet as you make the transition to a senior living community, Summerset Senior Living would like you to know that our locations are pet friendly! Whether you’re staying with us in Lincoln, CA or Rancho Cordova/Gold River, CA we can accommodate you and your furry friend. Give us a call today at (916) 620-862, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free tour and don’t forget to ask about our pet-friendly environment!