The Hidden Benefits of Pets in Old Age

Pets are becoming a popular choice for older people. Whether it’s a dog, cat, or even a rabbit, a pet can provide social and emotional stimulation.

This can help to boost a person’s mood and overall mental health, which is of course very important. So what are the benefits of having a pet when you’re a bit older? And how does it help?

A fluffy great cat lounging on a dining chair

There are lots of different benefits to having a pet. Cats are good companions to have around the house!

The Research

The effect of pets on health has been an interesting talking point for quite some time. One institute in Australia carried out a 3-year study with over 5000 participants.

They found that those participants that had pets had lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. This is a great benefit to those in old age who are more susceptible to these kinds of health issues.

Another study in the US entailed pets being introduced to nursing homes. The results showed that the residents who were more exposed to the pets and interacted with them more regularly tended to smile more, and actually became more alert and aware than those who had little contact with the pets.

They also found that residents who had previously been aggressive instead became more tolerant and patient when in the presence of animals.

A small black and tan chihuahua in a man's arms

The mere presence of a pet can make you feel better.

 Pets Alleviate Loneliness

Two common problems with many elderly people are isolation and depression, which can both be caused by loneliness. Particularly with those who have families further away and have lost their partner, a pet can provide a healthy and sustainable source of friendship and even love.

Medical Benefits

Pets (particularly dogs) can also help to boost your mood. As mentioned above, it’s not unusual for elderly people to experience depression or even anxiety. Dogs boost the levels of serotonin (a happy hormone) in our bodies and can help brighten up your day. Even more remarkably, dogs can sense when a human is feeling sad or anxious. Their instincts lead them to comfort you – which is ideal for an elderly person!

A white dog having it's tummy rubbed

Research shows that having a pet can actually improve your mood significantly and boost happy hormones in your system.

You’re More Likely to Take Care of Yourself

Having a pet means that you are responsible for something, and you’re therefore more likely to take good care of it. There might be days usually where you don’t want to get out of bed but having a pet forces you to get up and go, which is good!

Pets unintentionally make you establish a daily routine. Pets often need feeding, exercising, playing with, or perhaps grooming. This can help you to establish a daily schedule and will keep you active and stimulated throughout the day.

Additionally, having to exercise your pet also means you have to exercise yourself. This is a great benefit for those in old age as it gets them outside and keeping active. It also gives them a chance to socialise and get a breath of fresh air!

Tabby cats make great pets

Waking up and looking after a pet everyday gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and take care of yourself.

Pets are wonderful friends to have, and they really do give you a new lease of life! Whether you’re wanting to hear the rattle of a hamster ball rolling around your living room, or you fancy adopting a rescued Great Dane, then it may have some real health benefits for you. We’ve found a helpful quiz from the PDSA that will ask what you’re looking for in a pet so you can make an informed decision. We hope you find the perfect furry companion for you!

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Lucie Hudson
Lucie Hudson

Lucie is our Marketing Manager, meaning she coordinates and writes some of our blogs, magazine articles, and brochures amongst many other resources. She also takes care of all our social media profiles, so feel free to send her any blog ideas you have!

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