Seniors and Pets: the many benefits of being a pet parent
“My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am.” ~ Unknown
Pets offer constant companionship and unconditional love, and as if that wasn’t already enough, research has found many other benefits associated with having a pet.
They’re good for your health
Much research has been done, and continues to be done, on the heart-health of people with pets. And so far the findings all show a positive correlation. Seniors that have pets or spend time with them have experienced reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They also have a lowered risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Further, if you have suffered a heart attack or stroke, pets have been found to speed the recovery process.
Another interesting fact about pets is that they can ease our pain. That’s right, studies have found that those with chronic pain or who are recovering from a serious injury or surgery needed significantly less pain medication when some form of pet therapy was involved.
They’re good for your mental well-being
Research from the University of Missouri-Columbia suggests that hormonal changes occur when humans and pets interact. Petting an animal, such as a dog or cat, for even just a few minutes releases a number of “feel good” hormones in people such as serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. It also results in decreased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
These hormonal changes coupled with the companionship, love and responsibility brought on by having a pet have been found to aid in the treatment of those with depression and help alleviate loneliness.
They’re good for your social life
Whether you need to walk them, train them, get supplies for them or learn more about them, pets get us out and socializing. Not to mention they are the perfect ice breaker for striking up conversation. Pets are a catalyst for social interaction, and these exchanges can take place anytime or anywhere. Being a pet parent automatically makes you part of a whole new community, one where new members are always welcome. And even if some of these interactions stay pet focused, and only occur when you meet up at the park, on the trails or in the pet aisles, the face-to-face interactions with other people will do you a world of good.
While pets do make amazing companions, we also need human bonds as well. Amintro is the social app for those 50 plus looking to make new friends and expand their social circles. Find like-minded people in your community – say those who also have a dog, cat, bird – and then meet with confidence in person.
By Christine Tompa