April 11, 2022 | News

Guest blog: Benefits of Having a Pet for The Elderly

Guest blog: Benefits of Having a Pet for The Elderly

April marks National Pet Month, an event that raises awareness of the importance of our furry friends.

Here is everything you need to know about the benefits of having a pet for the elderly:

How can pets help the elderly?

Owning a pet can have huge benefits for your mental and physical health. Older people could be hugely benefited by owning a furry Friend.

Physical health

One of the biggest impacts that pets can have on anyone’s life is improving your physical health. When you own a pet, it becomes your responsibility to make sure that it gets regular exercise. For the most part, this means getting outside yourself and taking a walk in the fresh air.

For elderly people owning a dog, cat or any animal that is kept outside, can give them a reason to leave their homes and make the most of nature. Furthermore, owning a pet that requires outside time encourages elderly people to move their bodies which can greatly improve physical health.

In fact, walking a dog just once a day has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and maintain strong bones and muscles.  During old age, it is vital that physical health is maintained and owning a pet can hugely help with this.

Mental wellbeing

Physical health is not the only thing that can be improved by owning a pet.  Having a furry companion can have huge benefits for mental wellbeing and overall mental health.  One of the biggest struggles faced by elderly people is loneliness. Over time, friends, and family pass away and loved ones who are younger may be busy with their own lives. Having a pet can provide older people with the companionship that they need throughout today.

The presence of a pet has also been shown to help relieve stress and improve mood. Pets can provide their owners with bursts of light throughout the day and always manage to put a smile on their elderly owners faces, like Bandit – who gave Maureen a new lease of life and a reason to get up in the morning.

Memory and cognition

Looking after a pet provides older people with responsibility. With this responsibility comes a number of daily tasks such as making sure they are fed, cleaned and given adequate exercise. Doing these tasks each day can help to strengthen memory and improve cognition during older age.

Strengthening memory can help to combat illnesses such as dementia, which has a large prevalence than the older community. Pets also give older people a companion to talk to which can help to maintain good language skills and reduce the chances of developing forgetfulness.

Looking after a pet during old age

It is no secret that owning a pet can have huge benefits for the elderly.  However, owning a fairy friend also comes with extra responsibilities that can sometimes be overwhelming for older people who may already be struggling to look after themselves.

Luckily there are several Homecare services available that can cater for both you and your pet. Helping Hands state, “being around your pet can reduce stress, provide companionship and give you a sense of purpose and routine”. They provide quality homecare, allowing you and your furry friend to stay in your comfortable surroundings!

During National Pet Month, it is important to remember that pets need just as much care and attention as you do. Just like people need healthcare and the chance to have a good quality of life, pets need access to fresh air, regular exercise, food, water, and shelter. If you are considering owning a pet, always make sure that you can provide the right environment and ensure that you are able to take on the added responsibility.

Remember pets aren’t just gifts, they are lifelong companions that can make a huge difference to well-being and quality of life. As a result, it is important that you look after their well-being too.

Special thanks to Lily Meyers for this guest blog.