Pets can be very helpful for the elderly. They lower anxiety in people and offer the comfort of companionship. Any person who has seen the love in a dog’s eyes while it is getting it’s belly rubbed, or listening to the gentle purr from a content cat will know that they pass that solace onto their humans.
It is no wonder that pets have been proven to help the elderly. Science tells us that bonding with a pet for just 15 minutes a day sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke. This is why pets for the elderly can be so beneficial.
While we know that pets in the life of the elderly can improve their well-being, more and more senior assisted living centers are starting to recognize this by adding community pets to their offerings.
Recent studies have shown that the health benefits that are given by pets goes beyond the physical aspects to the elderly. By having seniors being responsible for another life, it appears that the social and mental qualities are increased. Oftentimes, when a senior is suffering from withdrawal, a pet can add the communication they need to their lives. This also seems to be of help with patients suffering from dementia and other memory loss diseases. Pet ownership seems to add a powerful source of healing with improved appetite, more social interaction and tactile and cognitive stimulation.
If you have any questions involving pet ownership and the elderly, please feel free to contact the Kabb Law Firm at 216-991-KABB (5222).