Senior Pet Owners Live Better and Longer
Gretchen Heuring for ElderThink
Thirty years ago, researchers discovered that pets are good for older people (and sick people too.) Today, we can find beloved kitties and pups in just about every assisted living or nursing care facility. Volunteers take pets for hospital visits, and doctors even prescribe pets for recovering patients.
Here's What The Researchers Found
Those early researchers found some astonishing facts. For example in 1980 physicians from the University of Maryland Hospital and Medical school reported that they studied groups of patients discharged after a heart attack. The first group of patients did not have a pet at home. An astonishing 28% of these people with not pets died within a year. A second group of people did have a pet at home. Only 6% of these heart attack sufferers died. There were other studies conducted elsewhere with similar results. Our pets enrich our lives in so many ways. Now there is solid evidence that having a pet will also prolong our lives. People with pets do better recovering from serious illness or injury. More than that, people with pets do better at managing chronic conditions, are better at maintaining social relationships (with other humans) and move through loss and grief with more ease.
The Daily Walk
Walking our dog every day gives us regular exercise, fresh air and Vitamin D-producing sunshine. All for free. Who can resist the fun of that wagging tail and raised nose sniffing the air as we move through our neighborhood or nearby park. Just being outdoors reduces stress, and having a happy companion along is even better.
A Personal Greeter
No matter what, a pet greets us with delight when we come home. It can be returning from the grocery store, or a trip around the world. It's all the same to our furry friend. We came home. He's happy. It's almost worthwhile to go out and come back just to recieve this wonderful welcome.
Curling Up Together
It doesn't matter to our pet. We can read a book, watch TV, or have another human over to play checkers. Our furry friend will be perfectly happy to settle down nearby or very close. We are loved.
There Is Richness In This Relationship
We care for our pet. We make sure he has proper food and fresh water, some exercise and veterinary care when needed. Our pet gives back. He gives us everything; a better, fuller, longer life...and don't forget, he makes us laugh!