A study from “Pets Are Wonderful Support” found, “recently widowed women who owned pets, experienced significantly fewer symptoms of physical and psychological disease. It has also been reported to lower medication use among widows who own pets.”
It’s easy to see how the love of a pet for senior citizens can provide love and companionship. By increasing their happiness and comfort level, it also enhances their mental health by producing a chemical reaction in the brain. This helps to lower levels of the stress-inducing hormone, cortisol, and increase the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin.
Pets for Seniors, also have a positive impact on Physical Health
But a pet for senior citizens can become more than a companion animal, by contributing to the physical health of their owners. These furry friends can reduce both blood pressure and stress levels, thereby lowering their owner’s cholesterol and triglycerides, helping to protect against heart conditions.
One study by OneGreenPlanet.org found that if a pet for senior citizens, also contribute to a higher survival rate from patients who suffered from a heart attack. The mortality rate among seniors with pets was one-third that of patients without animal companionship. According to this study, “approximately one million people die of heart disease each year. Animals can help save over 33,000 people from dying of heart disease.”
Furthermore, in a study of 100 Medicare patients, it showed that the owners of a pet for seniors, visited their doctors 21% less often than those who don’t own pets. In addition, they use less medication and a pet for seniors can help their owner recover faster from surgery and illness.
Thankfully, more and more Senior Care Centers and Senior Residents have begun to understand the benefits of a companion pet, and allow pets for senior’s into their facilities. Because of the overwhelming positive research on the benefits a pet for senior’s have, many rehabilitation and hospitals allow service dogs in to visit. The other added bonus is the the huge smile they bring to everyone’s face.
It is clear that a furry friend can be incredibly beneficial and help provide the much needed contact we all need, at any stage of life. But the emotional and physical benefits of a senior owning a pet, sounds to me like it is exactly what the doctor ordered.