Whether your senior family member lives alone or in a retirement community, life may get pretty lonely at times. If your loved one has a pet to take care of, he or she can become a happier person. Here are five reasons your senior family member should own a pet:
1. Reduce depression
A senior may experience many changes in his or her life, including retirement and death of loved ones, and that can lead to depression. If your loved one is depressed, he or she may feel hopeless, experience sleep disturbances and lose interest in hobbies. Owning a pet can reduce feelings of depression and emptiness. According to HelpGuide.org, a pet can keep an older person company and help him or her get more exercise.
2. Sense of purpose
Since many seniors are likely retired and don't have kids to look after anymore, they may not feel useful. Taking care of a furry companion can give your loved one a new sense of purpose. If your family member knows a living creature depends on him or her for food, shelter and love, he or she will feel more needed.
"Owning a pet can reduce feelings of depression and emptiness."
3. Increased exercise
Seniors can experience several benefits from regular physical activity, including reduced blood pressure and stronger bones, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your loved one has a dog, he or she can go on a walk with it every day and get plenty of exercise.
4. Lessen loneliness
Pets can help lessen loneliness in a senior's life. When your senior family member needs companionship, a pet will always be there to offer unconditional love.
5. More social interaction
Regular social interaction is good for a person's emotional well-being, but not all seniors interact enough with others. If your loved one gets a dog, he or she can take it for walks and get exposed to people more often. Your family member may even make a few new friends while taking the dog for walks.
From dogs and cats to rabbits, pets can provide companionship and improve your senior loved one's quality of life. Since many pets need loving homes, encourage your family member to adopt one.