For the majority of mature adults, health issues, low energy, and mobility restrictions can prevent them from staying socially engaged. This is especially true for mature adults who live on their own. Such a living condition can lead to social isolation which can be detrimental to both their physical and mental health. Pet therapy has been shown to benefit mature adults as it helps to improve various aspects of their life. Here are the different benefits of a pet for mature adults.
- Heart Health
Interacting with a pet can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, thus reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease.
- Improved Physical Activity
Walking, playing, or grooming a pet increases the frequency of exercise and physical activity which offers plenty of health benefits.
- Healthy Behavior
Pet owners have a high tendency of taking better care of themselves. Caring for a pet can help owners to develop a routine which in turn encourages them to complete chores regularly including having meals at regular intervals.
Social and Emotional Benefits
- Increased Interaction
Walking a dog gets its owner out of the home, thus increasing their opportunities for social interactions with neighbors.
- Reduced Loneliness
Pets offer companionship which provides their owners a source for affection, activity, and conversation, which can reduce the sense of isolation that is common for mature adults to feel.
- Stress Relief
Having a pet increases levels of serotonin which is a hormone that makes us feel good and relieves stress. Having a pet also provides physical contact that can help to reduce anxiety levels.
- Improved Self-Esteem
For mature adults who may be discouraged by their age, limited abilities, appearance, and others, pets welcome their company. This reminds them that they are still needed and that they are capable of being loved.
- Sense of Purpose
The company of a pet provides a reason for its owner to get up in the morning. This can allow them to combat depression as the feelings of helplessness or worthlessness get eliminated. When they know that they are needed and loved, their mental health can be improved.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet
Before getting a pet for your loved ones, ask yourself these questions to help you make a well-informed decision:
- What is the Best Choice for a Pet?
If your loved one has mobility limitations, they may have a restricted ability to provide regular attention to a pet. Thus, a dog may not be a suitable option for a pet in this case. You can consider other options for a pet that does not require regular physical attention.
- Is Your Loved One an Experienced Pet Owner?
Taking care of a pet for the first time can be challenging or even overwhelming. Discuss with your loved ones and listen to their opinions about caring for a pet. You do not want to burden them with caring for a pet if they do not want to.
- Are Finances an Issue?
Caring for a pet requires some finances. If your loved one has a problem in this aspect, it is best not to further add on to their existing responsibilities.