In celebration of National Dog Day – August 26th!
By: Margie Veis, Executive Director of Oakmont of Santa Clarita and proud “parent” of Biff!
Pets fill a special place in our lives and hearts. They have made great comrades through adolescence, marriages, and raising children. They have provided comfort when our nests have emptied and support through loss and illness. There is nothing quite like the sound of a cat’s purr or the feeling of a dog’s soft fur to help buoy our spirits and get us through the tough times.
As we age, the benefits of pet ownership become even more significant. A senior’s quality of life can be vastly improved, both physically and emotionally, when they have an animal companion to care for and spend time with. At pet-friendly senior living communities, residents can bring their beloved furry friends to live with them, allowing seniors to reap the rewards of pet ownership even as their own care needs change.
Below are some of the benefits of pet ownership for seniors:
1) Companionship – Loneliness is dangerous to our health at any age, but is prevalent in seniors who have lost spouses, live far away from family or have become isolated due to health challenges. A pet provides a daily companion who is eager to see you every morning and is a constant cohort throughout the day.
2) Purpose – Pets give us a reason to get up in the morning when we are having a hard time getting out of bed. They rely on us for food, water, exercise and play and many seniors will schedule their days especially to support their pet’s routine.
3) Fitness – Tending to our pets needs means that we have to get up and move around many times per day: for feedings, playtime, cleaning the cat box or letting the dog out, etc. Dogs are especially beneficial to a senior’s fitness as taking a dog out for even a short walk exposes us to fresh air, exercise and the outside world.
4) Conversation Starter – Owning a pet gives us something in common with other pet owners. A lively conversation can easily spring forth when discussing our companions’ personalities and daily hijinks.
5) Joy – There is a reason that animal videos are so popular; dogs and cats make us smile! Whether sleeping, playing, or just going about their normal routine, our furry friends are a joy to watch and spend time with.