Man’s best friend is no longer simply a warm welcome when you walk through the front door.  Many scientific studies are now promoting pet ownership among senior citizens for the health benefits.  Pets are credited for both physical and mental health and well-being and have led to the following benefits for seniors:

  • Senior citizens who own pets tend to have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and generally better cardiovascular health compared to senior citizens who do not own pets.
  • Seniors citizens with heart conditions who also own pets are more likely to live longer than those who do not own pets.
  • Pets help seniors cope with stress, loneliness, and depression.
  • Senior citizens with pets are more active than those without pets.
  • For people aged 65-78, dogs are a major factor of conversations with passersby. Companion animals readily elicit friendly responses.
  • Pet owners have fewer minor health problems, lower medical costs, better psychological well-being, and higher one-year survival rates following coronary heart disease.
  • Pets promote social interaction, decrease the feeling of loneliness and isolation, and increase morale and optimism.
  • Pets encourage playfulness, exercise, and promote laughter.
  • Pets satisfy the need for touch and to be touched, and give nonjudgmental warmth and affection.

The benefits of pets are found in both personal pet ownership and the incorporation of animal visits as part of regular programs at senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and retirement communities. 


DISCLAIMER:  Senior Helpers does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  This article is presented for informational purposes only.  Consult your doctor for more information.

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