Benefits of Pets in Assisted Living: Having a furry, four-legged friend adds fun at home. It is true, especially for seniors who have been pet owners for a long time. Living with a pet offers many benefits to seniors, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s. It helps to build self-esteem, lift spirits, and improve cognitive alertness.
If a senior in your family is planning to live in an assisted living community, it is best to consider what would make the person happy. The transition would be difficult if the senior has a pet. With this, the best thing to do is to look for a facility that allows bringing the furry friend.
Provides a sense of daily routine
Living with a pet even in senior living communities can help set a daily routine. Having a routine to accomplish gives a sense of purpose. Allowing a senior to take care of a pet will make her motivated to get up in the morning to accomplish the daily routine.
Increases exercise & physical activity
Playing with the pet is beneficial to seniors living in the facility. To improve life, it is essential to engage in physical activity and exercise. Going for a walk or playing fetch with a pet makes the owner move and be active. Being physically active reduces the potential for developing cardiovascular disease. The pet can motivate the senior to avoid slouching on the couch the whole day. Thus, improving mobility and physical health.
Lower blood pressure
Studies show that having a pet helps to lower blood pressure. The companionship of animals increases dopamine and serotonin levels. The calming effect of pets reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. It’s fun to bond with pets, it keeps away loneliness and depression.
Ease the anxiety, depression & loneliness
Social interaction is significant to a senior’s health. Having a pet is a way to interact with other people, especially when walking a dog. Interacting with other pet owners inside the senior living facility is a social opportunity to gain new friends.
Another thing is, moving into an assisted living facility can make the senior anxious. Seniors think the new environment would limit their independence. Having a pet that serves as a constant companion can reduce anxiety and loneliness.
Lowers risk of heart attacks
A study confirms that living with a pet lowers the risk of experiencing heart attacks. It can be possible if the senior spends most of the time interacting with the pet. Physically active is a big factor to lower the risk.
Reduces stress & boredom
Living in a facility can be boring and make the resident lonely and depressed. Having a pet can reduce boredom and stress. The playful pet can make the senior happy and lift the spirits.
Improves motor skills
Let a senior groom a dog or play with her pet. It helps improve motor skills through eye-hand movement. Lifting a pet or moving the pet food using two hands together promotes bilateral integration. Doing many activities with the companion of a pet can enhance the strength and motor skills of a senior.
The companion of a furry, four-legged friend has many benefits for seniors. The elderly feels lonely most of the time, especially when living in a senior living community. A pet serves as a therapy animal to humans. It helps the seniors to be happier and more communicative.
If the facility allows bringing a pet inside, it would be a big help for the residents. It helps to shift the focus on the positive thoughts while playing or caring for the pet. We know animals show unconditional affection to the owner.
The intuitive characteristic of a dog makes it a great companion for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It will help improve behavioral problems, like anxiety, agitation, irritability, loneliness, and depression. Animals in the senior living facility have therapeutic purposes and help promote the well-being of the seniors.