September is Healthy Aging Month and pets are important to seniors who are aging in place. There are many benefits to pet ownership, especially for older people.
Pets can help any owner with loneliness. Loneliness can lead to depression, and other companion animals such as dogs and cats can be a constant friend, offering snuggles and attentiveness to the owner. Pets relieve stress for their owners as well. Research shows that simply petting a dog lowers cortisol, the human stress hormone. Pets and seniors are a perfect match.
In addition, pets give owners something in life to care for, aside from themselves. For those who live alone, caring for another living creature creates purpose and happiness.
Pet owners tend to get more exercise than those without pets. Whether they are taking a pet for a walk, or just throwing around toys, pets can keep their owners physically active.
Studies have shown that cat owners are 40% less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Dog owners have a 33% lower risk of death among heart attack survivors who live alone according to an article by the American Hospital Association.
Dogs can provide those who live alone, including the elderly with protection. Even small dogs can deter criminals by barking and being alert to strangers.
Pet owners are more likely to connect with other people who love pets. Creating connections and common bonds are important to helping people avoid isolation. Trips to the dog park or even chats in a Facebook group can help pet owners find common ground with others.
Many of our clients have beloved pets and we know how important those pets are to them. We are celebrating our clients’ pets by creating the Very Important Pet (VIP) award. Each month, our team will choose a pet to honor. All Saints will provide the pet (and their owner) with a gift basket of pet food, toys, and their favorite treats!
All Saints clients who wish to nominate their pets can ask for a paper form or can fill out our online form. A new VIP will be chosen each month for the next year. VIPs will be displayed on our social media and on our website. Join us in honoring the pets who bring our clients so much joy.