The Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

May 12, 2021
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man and woman with labradoodle

Pets are loyal and dedicated companions. They provide us with a sense of joy and purpose that is sometimes tough to come by. If you have any doubts, the sheer volume of pet adoptions that have taken place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic may convince you. From Washington, D.C., to Chicago and beyond, animal shelters and rescue organizations have seen adoptions increase by as much as 30 to 40 percent.

The health benefits that are linked to owning a pet are numerous and include reduced stress and increased physical activity. But before you rush out to your local humane society, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The Benefits of Having a Pet During Retirement

  • Companionship: Health professionals coined the phrase “pet therapy” simply because human-animal relationships have so many benefits. Most animals are faithful to their pet parents. They are nonjudgmental and ready to listen on difficult days. A good conversation with your furry or feathered friend can lift you up on days when you are feeling down. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, a pet can be a therapist who helps you find healing and peace. They give the days purpose and meaning.
  • Reduce stress: The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Finding ways to manage the stress is essential for mental and physical well-being. Research shows that pets aid in reducing stress and blood pressure. The very act of stroking an animal’s fur is calming.
  • Encourage activity: Pets keep us busy, especially dogs. They need a good walk most days, and usually enjoy a spirited game of catch. Walking with a dog, whether it’s a few laps around the block or a nature stroll through your favorite park, helps protect you from the dangers associated with a sedentary lifestyle. It builds stamina, balance, and core strength. Each of those is important for preventing falls.

Tips to Consider Before Adopting a Pet

If you’ve decided it’s time to add to your household, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First, consider your budget. Some breeds of cats and dogs are higher maintenance than others. Some of the more popular breeds of dogs, such as goldendoodles, need frequent grooming. That can take a bite out of your budget.

Also make sure you understand the animal’s disposition and what they will need. A high-energy breed will require more exercise and possibly more space than others with calmer temperaments. Take your home environment into account, too. If you don’t have outdoor living space or easy access to a park, a cat may be a better choice than a dog.

Five Star Senior Living Communities Are Pet Friendly

If you are a proud pet owner who is considering moving to a senior living community, it’s important to know some communities welcome dogs and cats. At Five Star Senior Living, we understand pets are family members, too. Make sure you tell us about your furry companion when you call to schedule a tour, and we’ll be glad to tell you about some of the pets who call our communities home. Find a senior living community near you or schedule a tour.

Think Senior Living is Boring?

Think again. In a Five Star community, you have the freedom every day to choose your own adventure. Watch how one resident charts her own path for fun-filled, stress-free senior living.

Give us a call: (833) 457-8271