Thanks to Purina for this research on pets and seniors! Looks like more “ammunition” supporting allowing pets in retirement homes!
Seniors & Pets A Good Combination for the Golden Years
Pets can be just what the doctor ordered for senior citizens when it comes to keeping them healthy and happy. They provide comfort in a time of need, company in a time of loss, and friendship free of conditions. Research suggests the unconditional love and companionship provided by a pet can lead to healthy lifestyles for seniors. Below is a snapshot of research findings on this topic, as well as results from a national survey* conducted by Purina:
Mental Health Benefits for Senior Citizens
Sixty-five percent of seniors that own pets feel companionship is the biggest benefit.
Fifty-eight percent of senior pet owners believe their pet brightens their mood and 54 percent believe their pet gives them someone to care for.
In regards to stress, 54 percent of pet owners stated their pet helped reduce their stress.
Elderly people with pets are better able to remain emotionally stable during a crisis than those without a pet.
Owning a cat or dog helps seniors maintain or enhance their Activities of Daily Living (ADL) score. The scale measures a persons ability to do activities like walking, preparing meals, bathing and dressing.
Pets help to fight depression and loneliness among seniors, promoting an interest in life and helping seniors stick to a regular daily routine.
Physical Health Benefits for Senior Citizens
Seniors who own dogs visit the doctor less often than those who do not.
Senior citizens who own pets can have significantly lower systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels than those who do not.
Senior males who own a dog are less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who do not own a dog.
In a study at the Baker Medical Research Institute, pet owners were found to have cholesterol levels two percent lower than those without pets. This can lower the risk of a heart attack by four percent.