Pets and Seniors
The belief that dogs are man’s best friend, is been embedded in American culture. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 85 million American families share the same belief. Humans have shared a friendly bond with canines for centuries, eventually domesticating them. Dogs have been integrated so deeply into American culture that they not only serve as pets but also as service animals! According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), dog ownership is beneficial to individuals regardless of their age group.
Health benefits of owning a dog:
- Reduces stress
- Improves heart health
- Helps fight off depression
- Helps fight off diseases
- Provides purpose
- Promotes an active lifestyle
- Boosts cognitive health.
For those who are immobile, cats or elderly dogs are a great option, since they require less maintenance, and training.
Owning a pet is especially beneficial to seniors living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. These pets provide companionship, security, and the opportunity to be social. Most senior facilities now allow pets to serve as companions. If a senior would not like to take on the full responsibilities of owning a pet, ask a loved one to stop by with their pet instead. Another great option is to ask your doctor, social worker, nurse or physical therapist about pet therapy programs in the nearby area. There are many pet therapy programs in Florida that would love to visit a new senior facility.
For those who do not have loved ones nearby for visitation, OurSeniors.org was established to help provide important social visits for residents of facilities. Volunteer or donate to help correct this problem that can so easily be resolved.