Pets are essential when people reach their senior years. They bring many benefits that help the elderly enjoy their lives. When older people become empty nesters and some are struggling to cope with the loss of a significant one, pets may make their lives worth living. Their furry friends add quality to their everyday lives. To learn more about how pets improve the lives of the elderly, the veterinarians from Eastshore Vet, the best pet hospital in Madison, share the following benefits.
According to a study from 2003, scientists Johannes Odendaal and Roy Meintjes concluded that just looking at pets increases two feel-good hormones dopamine and oxytocin. When a human's body releases these hormones in the long-term, people feel better, are more interested in fostering their relationships, and tend to take care more about themselves.
Having a pet, especially a dog, helps people stay active and healthy. People with dogs tend to walk more and spend more time outdoors. As a result, they are motivated to take part in other activities than their peers who don't own a pet. Even cat owners stay active because many of them spend lots of time playing with their furry friends.
Loneliness and isolation naturally accompany older people. They decrease the elderly's ability to enjoy life, drain their energy, and increase the risks of various illnesses. On the contrary, senior pet parents report feeling less lonely and isolated. They always have someone who can occupy them, who unconditionally loves them, and who shares that love on a daily basis. Moreover, people with dogs tend to meet new people easier, because dogs are natural ice breakers.
Pets help the elderly shifting their focus from pain to other things. Just stroking a pet makes many people temporarily forget their pain. Not to mention how many times these funny creatures may make people smile. Watching them sleeping in weird positions may cheer up even the grumpiest people.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has revealed that even the presence of pets has calming effects on their owners. It's no wonder the elderly who enjoy petting sessions with their dogs or cats have less cortisol, the stress hormone, and are more peaceful than people without furry or feathered friends.
Having a well-structured day is crucial for seniors health. People who don't stick to their daily routine often suffer from depression. When older people have someone to take care of such as pets, they adjust their activities to fit the pets schedule. Moreover, taking care of pets gives them a sense of purpose, which is essential for them to feel happy.