The Many Positives of Pet Ownership
Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and bring joy, and the rewards may be especially pronounced for older adults. Owning a pet can offer companionship, physical activity, and even improved mental health to seniors, according to studies conducted by various sources over the last decade. Fortunately for Edgemere residents, furry friends are welcome on the campus, helping make the transition to the community easy and highly satisfying. Pets can also be a great icebreaker, making it a breeze to meet people and create new friendships.
Pets – Wonderful for Companionship
Having an animal companion can bring an older adult comfort and security during times of transition. It’s comforting to have a “familiar face” join you wherever life’s journey takes you. A pet can fill a void (of perhaps losing a spouse or close friend), providing unconditional love and support no matter what else is going on. Pets often become like family members—providing much-needed social interaction and emotional connection, particularly during challenging times. Studies show that interacting with pets can increase levels of feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, which can improve mood and reduce stress. In a close-knit community like Edgemere, pets can even offer “collateral” positives as other residents interact with a pet or simply enjoy watching it play with its owner.
An Added Plus – Physical Activity
Caring for a pet also encourages staying physically active, as many pet owners enjoy taking regular walks with their furry pals or engaging in other forms of exercise like playing catch. That physical activity has numerous benefits including improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, better balance, and reduced risk of falls or fractures—all necessary components of staying healthy as we age. Edgemere’s sprawling and beautiful campus offers a huge playground for pets, offering abundant opportunities for physical activity (for the pet and the owner), leading to improved overall health and well-being. Some studies have even found that pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. The American Humane Society cites studies that support this, noting that older pet-owning citizens have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-owners, which help reduce their risk for heart disease and decrease their number of visits to the doctor.
Big Benefit – Improved Mental Health
Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and meaning, which can be particularly important for older adults who may be retired or have fewer daily responsibilities. Pet ownership has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety which can be common among older adults due to changes in lifestyle or a decreased level of independence. Pets offer acceptance and the opportunity to care for another living creature, which usually provides purposeful activities and can keep seniors mentally engaged and improves cognitive function over time.
Owning a pet can offer anyone immense benefits, but seniors in particular can benefit in so many ways. Contact the Edgemere team if you have any questions about moving into the community and bringing your pet, or schedule a tour.