Did you know that nearly half of all U.S. households have a dog, and about one-third have a cat? We understand that the bond with a four-legged friend is a special one. Studies have shown that this strong relationship can have therapeutic physical, mental and emotional benefits – especially for seniors in assisted living communities. Here are five senior health benefits from having a pet pal!
Though there are no shortage of activities in a community-based living setting, sometimes residents can feel lonely – especially those who are accustomed to interacting or living with family, friends or a partner. Pets can offer a solution to the isolation residents may feel, especially for those who struggle adjusting to community living.
- Improved Socialization
A recent study monitored the behaviors of long-term care patients who experienced therapy-based pet interaction versus those that did not. The results showed that people exposed to animals were more likely to initiate and participate in long conversations, while those who did not were more likely to have brief conversations.
- Stress Relief and Mental Functioning
Researchers found that the presence of a therapy dog decreased agitation in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially during the late afternoon and early evening, a time that can often lead to an increase in confusion and agitation for people living with memory issues.
According to the University of Missouri Health, walking is the most common form of leisure-time physical activity for adults over 60. Pets need to be walked and played with, naturally helping residents to be more active in a way that is comfortable for them.
- Improved Self-Esteem and Acceptance
Pets can motivate seniors to get up every morning, giving them purpose and inspiration. Pets also provide unconditional love, helping seniors focus on the positive aspects of their present situation, teaching acceptance.
At Prestige, many of our communities encourage residents to bring their small pet so they can receive the therapeutic benefits that come along with pet companionship. Feel free to contact one of our communities directly to learn more about pets at Prestige.