How Pets Protect Seniors from Depression and Other Health Problems

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On January 9, 2013, Posted by , In Caregivers, By ,, , With Comments Off on How Pets Protect Seniors from Depression and Other Health Problems

If our pets could talk, they would most probably say that the leading benefit of having an owner is chow and shelter. On the other hand, if you’d ask elderly pet owners about the benefits of having pet animals, the answer that you might get would come in a gush of emotion—indeed, the health benefits that humans get from their relationship with their companion animals are as diverse as the number of dog or cat breeds.

For seniors, pets are not only able to save them from depression, but they can also provide so many good things that other human beings may fail to provide.

Loneliness is the number one killer.

Researchers working on aging-related medical conditions are beginning to realize that for many seniors, it is not the cancer or failing liver or kidneys shutting down or heart disease that threatens their lives, but loneliness. Most seniors suffer from loneliness and isolation, and when such a condition is not sufficiently addressed, can lead to the aforementioned medical conditions—or hasten the progression of an existing illness.

In this context, having pets insulates seniors from the pangs of loneliness with the pet animals’ love and companionship. Pets can put an easy smile on your face at the end of the day, restoring and even enhancing your own self-worth.

Protection from aging-related diseases.

The ability of pets to provide substantial protection from certain diseases is not just myth or hearsay. There have been several studies documenting the fact. For example, in Australia’s largest cardiac center, the Baker Medical Research Institute, more than five thousand people who visited the center for cardiovascular evaluation were surveyed, specifically analyzing the patients’ diet, exercise habits, whether or not they smoked, and blood pressure. In their findings, the medical researchers stated that those who owned pets had significantly reduced levels of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The results of several research studies involving coronary disease patients showed that the mortality rate of people without companion animals is three times greater than those who live with pets. By the numbers, as approximately 1 million people die every year from heart disease, 30,000 people are saved by the life-prolonging benefits of animal companionship.

Indeed, so many studies have found that having pet animals can lower the human owner’s blood pressure and pulse rate, reduces the propensity or instances of depression, and enhances their sense of security and peace of mind. A pet dog’s unconditional love and support can work wonders on one’s medical condition.

Pets as a positive daily element in a senior’s life.

Having companion animals, especially dogs or cats, can motivate seniors to take better care of themselves. The pets tend to indirectly encourage seniors to become more active in their daily lives. For instance, the tasks of walking the dog, preparing food, and bathing them are often enough reason to get up in the morning and engage with the day. Pets can also serve as seeds in forging new friendships—when you walk the dog in the park, you may meet other pet lovers with whom you can share your passion and interests concerning your pets.

Bottom line: having pets provide so many healthful, social, and emotional benefits in their relationship with their human owners. If you want to start feeling better, why not visit the nearest animal shelter and adopt a nice, little puppy?


Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Macomb County or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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