Animals and Senior Citizens, a Perfect Team

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Animals and senior citizens, a perfect team? Animals provide people with a lot of happiness and companionship, and this is especially true for senior citizens. Many people, when they reach old age, find themselves alone, which can be hard. For this and other reasons, having the company of an animal can provide great benefits.

Studies have highlighted that senior citizens who live with pets have a better quality of life, in addition to improvements in their physical and psychological well-being.

Benefits for senior citizens

Living with pets can help senior citizens upkeep and maintain daily and stay proactive. Thus, it prevents them from isolating themselves and feeling lonely. As well as helping them to remain active and improve their self-esteem.

On the other hand, it is not only the senior citizens who enjoy animals. It is also the animals who are grateful to find someone who cares for them, loves them and offers them a home. It is a mutual loving bond for both owner and pet.

Some of the many benefits animals bring to senior citizens are:

Encouraging them to have good mobility and physical activity.

In the case of having a dog as a pet for example, the owner is obliged to take it for a walk, play, go to the park, etc. All of this contributes to moderate physical exercise, keeping the owner active and improving their joint health.

Animals can make senior citizens feel more protected

In general, animals have a protective instinct, so if the senior citizen lacks mobility or is at risk, such as suffering a fall, they can alert themselves and act, in the specific case of the dog, barking to call the attention of neighbours or relatives.

Increased self-esteem and sociability

When owners go for walks with their pets, they enhance social relationships. Love for animals is shared with many people and encourages interaction.

Reduced feelings of stress

Some senior citizens may feel stress and anxiety because they spend most of their time alone. Pets are very beneficial in reducing these feelings. For example, listening to a cat purring, birds singing or watching fish swimming.

Reduced feelings of loneliness

Being with your pet every day provides great companionship, both in good times and bad. In addition, they create a great bond and share affection.

Reduces depression

Spending time with animals favours self-esteem and helps to avoid depression, because the owner has the responsibility to take care of the pet and feel useful.

What type of pet to choose according to the activity of the senior citizens?

Having a pet is also synonymous with responsibility, as pets need daily attention and care. For our senior citizens to have the right companion, we must consider their active life, the degree of mobility, and allergies or the space in the house where they live, among other things. In other words, we must take into account both the limitations they may suffer and those that may arise.

When the senior citizen lacks good mobility, the best option would be a cat, since they can live perfectly well without leaving the house and do not need to go for a walk. The same applies to fish, birds (canaries, parakeets, etc.), etc.

However, in cases where there is no problem with mobility and the senior citizen is active, many choose a dog with which they can carry out activities. Some examples of these are playing outdoors, throwing a ball, going for a walk, to the dog park, to the beach, etc.

Another aspect to consider is the size and age of the pet. If it is large or young, having a lot of strength, the walk could become dangerous.

Therapy with animals and senior citizens

For senior citizens, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) by professionals is beneficial on an emotional level. It has been demonstrated to boost mood and self-esteem while reducing depression and stress.

For example, many who suffer from certain health problems or communication difficulties, the accompaniment of a dog provides both physical and psychological improvements. In particular, they can stimulate their mind by playing with them or even watching them.

The therapies have a purpose, they are evaluated and results are obtained. In short, pets act as co-therapists.

Living with animals: love back and forth

The most important thing is that when there are animals and senior citizens, life is surrounded by affection and it’s quality is clearly improved. For this reason, the essential benefit of adopting an animal is the relationship and mutual coexistence, receiving the love and attention they need.

For more information on the benefits pets can have on senior citizens please read this article.