November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and it’s an ideal time for family caregivers to see whether or not their aging relative might want a canine companion. Instead of a rambunctious and untrained puppy, many elderly adults find that the best fit for them is a senior dog. There are thousands of loving and wonderful senior dogs just waiting to be matched up to a caring elderly owner.
Here are 10 health benefits that elderly adults can enjoy when they own a senior dog:
1. Less lonely and isolated.
Elderly adults often feel isolated or lonely, even if they have senior care assistance and friends and family across the country. The day-to-day interactions are often missing for elderly adults, but with a dog, they have a constant companion that adores them and depends on them.
2. Reduced stress.
Elderly people deal with a lot of stress and frustration, so when they need to decompress, their senior dog companion is ready to help out. Physical touch is an important component of stress relief, and cuddling with a dog is a wonderful way to connect.
3. Encourage physical activity.
Researchers discovered that there is a direct link between being a dog owner and having lower blood pressure and reduced heart rate. Dogs require more activity from their owners, increasing the amount of exercise the senior gets.
4. Effective for pain management.
Many physical and occupational therapist incorporate animal therapy in their treatments. That’s because working with dogs has been proven to ease pain and motivate elderly adults with conditions like arthritis.
5. Lower blood pressure and reduces heart rate.
Scientists discovered that the act of petting a dog or cat actually lowers the blood pressure and reduces the heart rate. This in turn leads to better health and wellness, especially when done on a regular basis.
6. Contribute to good moods.
Studies show that just petting a dog can reduce stress and focuses the mind on more positive thoughts. When petting a dog, the brain releases feel-good hormones that help reverse negative thoughts.
7. Stimulate socialization.
People with dogs tend to be more social than those without. Whether it’s stopping to talk to other dog owners or chatting with the vet or the groomer, elderly adults can expand their social network when they have a senior dog. It’s especially important for seniors that are relatively isolated except for contact with a few family members and senior care assistants.
8. Improve the immune system.
People that have a dog don’t get as sick as non-dog owners. Because dogs expose their humans to different bacteria, the body builds up resistance to them and strengthens the immune system.
9. Boosts self-esteem.
Dogs love their owners unconditionally, and that is a big boost to a person’s self-esteem. Elderly adults with dogs know there is a creature that depends on them and accepts them for who they are, no matter what.
10. Live longer and stronger.
A recent study shows that people who own dogs actually live longer on average than people who do not. They experience a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and because dogs require their owners to be more active, the benefits of exercise contribute to longevity.
If you or an aging loved one needs senior care in Davis, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.