Spring Gardens Senior Living in Mapleton
Living with a pet brings us love, companionship, and plenty of affection. It’s no secret that the bond between humans and their pets is powerful, with many considering them part of the family. Read on to learn how pets positively affect our mental and overall health.
What are the Mental Health Benefits of Pets?
Anyone with a pet can tell you the enormous impact a furry friend can have on a person’s psychological health. You can instantly lift your spirits just by looking at their cute little face or a wagging tail.
We have long suspected that pets help people with mental illness. There are obviously potentially negative consequences of living with a pet, such as psychological attachment and fear of losing a four-legged friend. But the positives of our mental well-being dramatically outweigh the negatives.
How pets support our mental health by:
- Reducing stress hormones. A five-minute interaction with a dog or cat can increase dopamine and serotonin levels, resulting in a more relaxed nervous system.
- Making us feel needed. Taking care of your pet gives you a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Increasing your sense of well-being. As you get older, you may feel like you’ve lost purpose and meaning in your life. Caring for a pet brings a sense of self-worth.
- Supporting recovery from mental illness. Companion animals can help people with emotional support and distract them from their mental health problems.
- Feeling connected. Pets keep you from feeling lonely and help alleviate social anxiety.
- Helps us live in the moment. Pets never worry about anything but the present. As a result, they are a great reminder to appreciate and enjoy today.
How Do Pets Benefit Seniors?
Having a pet is also beneficial for a senior loved one. Pets provide companionship, giving isolated seniors a source for affection, conversation, and activity. Regular human-animal interactions can even lower blood pressure.
Additionally, the presence of pets can help reduce the effects of dementia and other memory disorders. With their company and friendliness in a non-threatening way, pets can help a dementia patient be more interactive. They can help reduce the effects of dementia, such as anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, and loneliness.
In addition to mental health benefits, pets can also:
- Sense Human Diseases – Studies have shown that trained dogs can detect many diseases — including lung, breast, ovarian, bladder, and prostate cancers through smell.
- Heart Health – Frequent interaction with a pet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving immune systems.
- Increased Physical Activity – Walking, grooming, or playing with a pet increases the frequency of physical activity and exercise, which has countless health benefits.
- Healthy Behavior – Pet owners tend to take better care of themselves. Caring for a pet helps develop a routine, encouraging the owner to eat regularly or complete chores and other tasks.
The experiences pets bring into your life are indeed one of a kind. No matter what, they love you unconditionally, and the mental health benefits they provide are priceless. While your pet benefits your health, keep in mind that it’s also essential to know all about their health.
What are the Benefits of Pet Therapy in Senior Living?
There are many benefits to introducing pet therapy as part of an elder’s routine. The residents of a senior living community have lived whole, independent lives before coming. Having a caregiver take care of their every need can leave residents feeling out of touch with themselves and susceptible to low self-esteem.
The responsibility of caring for a pet, briefly or over the long term, can help boost a patient’s self-esteem and reduce the risk of developing depression and anxiety. Being alone too often forces the residents to focus on their lack of companionship. It leaves them worried about their health conditions and loved ones.
Introducing pets into a resident’s routine helps reduce loneliness and shifts them toward a more positive focus. Pets require many things from their owners, from food to exercise. These needs can give residents a reason to get up and increase their physical activity.
Those who feel shy or self-conscious about their decreased ability learn about acceptance because the love of their pets is unconditional. Relationships with pets can result in improved mental functioning. The daily responsibility helps them find a positive purpose for the day, and the pets are tools to keep residents’ memories sharp.