10 Benefits of Emotional Support Animals for Seniors
One of the hardest things seniors have to go through is trying to acclimatize to their environment once they’re left alone. Retirement and an empty nest create a conducive surrounding for loneliness, depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions to creep in.
While some will find themselves enrolled in a senior’s home, others have to be alone without entering senior living. As such, doctors prescribe emotional support animals to these individuals to help them cope with their situation. If you’re a senior or know someone who’s thinking about getting one of these pets, take a look at some of the perks of getting an emotional support animal. These are 10 benefits of pets for seniors.
#1. Creation of New Bonds
Once the people you’re used to seeing everyday leave, it can be lonely. A void is left in you that requires filling. An emotional support animal helps to fill that space that’s left. It’s like making a new friend. You spend plenty of time with your new ally, and with time, you won’t feel as lonely. Pets for elderly persons can fill the void and offer companionship.
#2. Stress and Anxiety Relief
It is scientifically proven that loneliness can lead to anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues. You can easily keep at bay such conditions with the help of a Golden or Labrador retriever. These dogs are known to read your moods and work towards making you happy if you’re sulking. Getting a dog for an elderly person can replace the company and stress relief that was once provided by humans.
#3. Improved Health
Loneliness also produces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can trigger severe health conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks, increased cholesterol, and spiked blood sugar levels. A companion pet for seniors helps increase the feel-good hormone serotonin, thus, decreasing your risk of suffering from these diseases.
#4. Improved Memory
In taking care of an animal, seniors have to read more about them to know how best to take care of them. Reading, as you know, helps to stimulate your mind and eventually improves memory. For this reason, senior citizens who keep emotional support animals are less likely to suffer from memory loss.
#5. Physical Exercise
One of the activities that animal keepers have to perform is walking their pets daily. In most cases, it’s essential to take your dog out for a walk at least twice a day, so it can have ample time to empty its bowel. In the process, you benefit from walking too. Walks help to stimulate your system and get rid of excess sugar and cholesterol. So, it’s a win situation for you and your pet when you go for a stroll during the day.
#6. You Meet New People
One significant benefit of keeping a dog is that you get to meet new people. During your walks, you meet other individuals who either like exercising or walking their pets too. So, you get to make new friends with similar interests as yourself.
#7. Creation of a New Routine
After retiring, it becomes tiresome doing nothing the entire day. You cannot always make cookies and pies for your neighbors every day. Getting a pet adds new activities to your itinerary. Eventually, you create a new routine that includes washing, feeding, walking, and grooming your pet. This timetable helps to keep you occupied most of the day.
#8. Finding a New Meaning to Life
Most adults occupy themselves with taking care of children or work. Once the kids leave your nest or retire from your job, life seems to move slowly. Taking care of an animal brings a new perspective to life now that you experience caregiving differently. Animals help you to redefine life and give you new joy.
If you have a senior family member suffering from chronic diseases, getting them a pet helps to refocus their attention from the illness to the animal giving them love.
#9. Animals Keep Your Calm
Some senior adults suffer from agitation when things do not seem to go how they’d want. Emotional support animals know how to detect an agitated person, and they find ways to calm them down. The animal will stay closer to its owner, giving them less time to think of the misfortunes in their lives.
#10. They Keep You on Your Toes
You’re never sure what your pet is up to. A few seconds of silence would mean that either your books, shoes, or clothes are in pieces. Keeping an animal helps to keep you on your toes so that your body and mind are always active when you’re chasing the pet around your home.
Animals can end up being more than pets and become family members. Emotional support animals help to keep you healthy, mentally and physically. Since they occupy your time, they leave little to no time for wallowing in stress and other unhealthy thoughts that could lead to chronic diseases. And while these pets are a great company, you have to look for one that resonates with your character so that you don’t end up feeling like you’re raising a two-year-old. These 10 benefits of pets for elderly persons can make a significant difference in their quality of life.
About the Author
Sara Anderson is the head of content for the EzCare clinic, a medical clinic that provides world-class health care services. She has been associated with the healthcare industry for over ten years and specializes in health care and medical content.
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.
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