written by Jason Lewis
Having a pet in the household can be a rewarding experience at any age. Seniors greatly appreciate the companionship and the social element of having a pet around the house. Maintaining a social bond is extremely important at any stage of life, and this is especially true during our Golden Years.
Over the years, multiple surveys have even indicated that community-oriented elderly adults view pet ownership as a very positive thing. Nearly every single person who was surveyed responded by saying that they feel some sort of social connection with their four-legged companions. 95% talk to their pet, 57% confide in their pet, and 79% take comfort in knowing their pet is around.
And having a pet need not be be a struggle. When bringing a new dog into your home, consider using a trainer to help you and your new pooch get acquainted with each other.
Aside from helping to establish routines, a trainer can teach effective techniques (i.e. commands, discipline, etc.) that will enable you and your dog to navigate your world together
a bit more easily.
Taking care of a pet changes the way we think and the way we care for ourselves. In fact, seniors who own pets have been shown to also take better care of themselves. Also, pet ownership might help improve mental sharpness and possibly even delay the effects of certain types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
Pet ownership does more than simply provide emotional support and social connection for seniors. It might actually boost their health! Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to experience high blood pressure or certain heart conditions.
Dog ownership in particular is good for promoting physical activity, even if just by encouraging people to take a few extra steps while walking their furry friend. According to the animal advocacy organization PAWS, dog owners are “way more likely” to hit their weekly exercise goals. In fact, some seniors have even started successful dog walking businesses as a way to stay healthy, earn extra income, and bring a smile to their faces during retirement.
Of course, not all seniors are able to walk their own dog - for a variety of reasons. This doesn’t mean that those seniors have to live a life without pets. Oftentimes, relatives or close family friends are willing to step in and assist with taking care of a beloved pet.
If there’s no one nearby who is able to assist, there are still probably some options. For instance, there are various dog walking services in just about every city; chances are, there’s one in your city who can help. These types of services allow seniors to maintain independence and continue happily living with their beloved pets, while someone else assists with dog walking. Hiring a professional dog walker can be quite a treat - for the dog as well as for the senior!
Life at any stage is unpredictable, and many seniors around the world enjoy the consistency and companionship of having a pet at their side each day. With all the research showing that pets are good for our health at any age, why not consider pet ownership during our retirement years? With professional dog walkers and other services to help seniors, owning a pet later in life is now easier than ever. Now, that’s something to wag your tail about!