Pets provide everybody with a feeling of happiness but they can be especially beneficial for older people. Pets provide you with responsibility, things to do each day and enjoyment as you bond with your new companion.
In our guide to hobbies for older people, we talked about how owning a pet can be a great hobby to have. In today's post we'll share five examples of the benefits of older people having pets.
1. Plenty of Exercise
If you have a dog then you can expect to exercise on a regular basis. A dog will need to be taken on multiple walks each day and will also want to play games with you in order to remain fit and healthy.
This is perfect for older people as it's important for you to remain as active as possible. Shockingly, it has been reported that on average, adults aged 65 and over spend 10 or more hours each day sitting or lying down. This can cause multiple health problems for you in the future.
It's advised that we take part in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week, which isn't going to be a problem if you have a dog. You'll be walking, running and/or cycling to the park everyday, and then once you arrive you'll be playing fetch and chasing after your companion.
2. Increased Social Life
Having pets also increases your social life. There are plenty of owner's clubs across the country, both online and offline - no matter which type of animal you own. This means that you are going to make more friends who have a common interest.
You'll talk to your new friends and also meet up at special events throughout the year. If you have a dog (which you may have noticed by now, is our favourite type of pet), then you will constantly bump into other dog owners in the park.
With a dog, you'll also meet new people at training centres and dog walking services. Keeping a strong social network is so important if you are going to beat depression or loneliness in old age. It's a common occurrence for owners of pets to also create dedicated social media pages for them.... increasing your online social life too.
3. They can Increase Happiness
Pets will provide you with plenty of happiness over the years just by being themselves, but there are scientific facts which also prove that they improve your mood. According to various studies, stroking a pet is thought to reduce the level of stress-related hormones in the blood, whilst stroking a dog can be comforting to both parties. When you stroke a dog, a hormone called oxytocin, linked to anxiety relief, is released.
Just waking up and going down to greet your pet for the first time that day can bring a smile to your face.
4. Pets Combat Loneliness
One of the main concerns for older people is becoming lonely. This is particularly the case if your friends and family have moved away or if you live alone. Loneliness is a huge problem for the UK's ageing population, one that can trigger several long-term medical conditions.
Pets provide companionship for older people in their own home. They're happy to see you every time you enter the room, and you'll be more than happy to see them too! Not only is it great to have a pet around the house, but if you have a dog you'll also have a reason to leave your house everyday as well!
You can build perfect relationships with your pets, one that helps to keep you socially and physically active.
5. A Sense of Purpose
One of the dangers of retirement is that you lose a sense of purpose in your everyday life. Without a job to go to or people to see you may start to suffer from depression as you have nothing specifically to do each day.
Owning a pet will give you plenty of reasons to get up every morning. It's your responsibility to feed them, clean them, play with them and provide them with a safe living environment throughout the year. You'll also need monthly, or weekly, trips to the pet store to stock up on food and toys for your pets.
Pets give you a sense of responsibility and this really ca help you thrive in old age!
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