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The Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

The Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Few things bring as much joy as snuggling up with a furry friend. Even on our hardest days, you can always rely on pets to offer a welcome, playful distraction full of smiles. The benefits of spending time with pets go far beyond having a loyal and dedicated companion by your side, though. Studies show that owning a pet also has numerous therapeutic and health benefits like reducing stress and increasing physical activity. Here are the three biggest benefits along with a few tips to consider before adopting a pet of your own.

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:  Finding ways to manage stress is essential for mental and physical well-being. Research shows that pets aid in reducing stress and blood pressure. In fact, 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 an outdoor living space or easy access to a park, a cat may be a better choice than a dog.

Five Star Senior Living: Where Pets are Part of the Family

If you are a proud pet owner who is considering moving to a senior living community, it’s important to know which communities welcome dogs and cats. At Five Star Senior Living, we understand pets are family members, too. That’s why nearly all Five Star communities are pet-friendly and many offer pet therapy so even residents without pets can reap the benefits. Find a community near you to learn more.

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