We all recognize the need for animals in our lives; they work for us, supply us with food, assist us as service aids, and of course, their existence as our pets simply makes life more enjoyable. But pets are now serving another purpose in our lives—recent studies have discovered that taking care of a pet has multiple health benefits, especially for the elderly.

The psychological benefit for elderly people has overwhelmingly positive effects. Pets serve as a loyal companion for lonely senior citizens and they present the opportunity to maintain responsibility—an essential component to feeling independent. It also gives the person something to focus on and to hold on to. This is highly effective for seniors who begin suffering from depression and are starting to feel detached.

Another added benefit is that elderly people feel needed and important to their pet. This is critical during a time when they may begin to feel insignificant and burdensome to their loved ones.

As for physical health benefits, pets induce that as well. Studies have discovered that owning a pet significantly reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, resulting in a reduced risk of heart disease.

Although the mental and physical advantages are worth considering, proceed with caution. Here are some things to consider before buying or adopting a furry companion for your elderly loved one:

 Do they have experience owning a pet?

  • Are they in proper physical and mental shape to take care of an animal?
  • Will finances be an issue?

Also, take note that owning an animal can add stress to someone's life. It is a responsibility and it's very important to choose the right pet or breed that fits the senior's lifestyle and personality. There is also the risk that a dog or cat could cause injury, especially in terms of a fall. And of course, there is the unfortunate incident of the pet dying, which is an emotionally stressful situation in itself.


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