Greater Baton Rouge, LA (Change Location)

Jan 07, 2022

Seniors and Pets

Written By: Home Instead
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For many pet owners, it’s no secret that furry friends play an integral part in our everyday lives, eventually feeling like a member of our families. Pets provide us with unconditional love and support, acting as a source of comfort and companionship in good times and bad. But that’s not all. In fact, it turns out that pets can actually be good for our emotional and physical health.

In a survey of adults 65 and older conducted by Home Instead, Inc., 86% of respondents say they would feel lonelier and less happy without their pet, and 58% report that they would not be as healthy without their pet. Furthermore, a study from Mayo Clinic found that people with pets reported experiencing more physical activity, a better diet and ideal blood sugar levels.

Seniors don’t have to own a pet to feel the effects of their presence, as interactions with family or friends’ pets prove to be just as beneficial. According to the Home Instead survey, 40% of respondents who don’t own a pet say they would feel lonelier without regular pet interaction, while 30% wouldn’t be as physically healthy.

Owning a pet can be a physical and economic commitment, but fortunately, there are other ways to interact with pets without the full responsibility of pet ownership. In celebration of National Pet Month, check out these tips for helping seniors get some pet love in their life:

Volunteer at a rescue organization or animal shelter. Seniors can volunteer their free time to help give pets waiting for a long-term home the care they need. Seniors can help with walking and socializing with the animals, activities that are mutually helpful for lonely older adults and homeless pets.
Visit a park. This is the perfect opportunity for seniors to not only interact with pets but also meet new people.

Get to know the pets in the area. Spending time outdoors is a typical activity for pets and their owners. Ask neighbors to join in their next game of fetch or walk around the neighborhood.

Connect with a therapy animal. Service and therapy animals can be great companions for seniors, especially if they have physical impairments. If you have a pet, consider registering them or enrolling them through a pet therapy program to share the positive power of animals with other seniors in your community.

For more ways you and an older friend or loved one can bask in the benefits of having furry friends, sign up for our weekly act of kindness ideas to help make the world a better place for our seniors.

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