The unconditional love of a pet is undeniable. Some people even argue that a pet offers better companionship than humans. The jury might still be out on that one, but the fact is, pets have staked their claim on the hearts of millions, and now there’s no turning back. In fact, it’s estimated that over 71 million American households have at least one pet.
Nowadays, pets are popping up everywhere: on planes, trains, running alongside their owners on bikes or skateboards, accompanying their humans to cafés and shops, and most recently, in senior living communities.
In a recent post by the National Center for Health Research, pet ownership among elderly people can play an important role in overall well-being. The physical attributes noted in the study stated that “seniors who owned pets were better able to perform daily living activities such as bending, kneeling, stooping, climbing stairs, and preparing meals.” Studies also show that the physical attributes of owning a pet can lower blood pressure and increase heart health by engaging owners, resulting in decreased depression and increased happiness.
Animal-assisted therapy is becoming a mainstay at many long term facilities and hospitals where a dog and its handler visit residents and patients on a regular basis. The Mayo Clinic recently published findings based on their Caring Canines program, stating that “animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems.”
At Senior Living Management, we are pleased to provide pet-friendly communities because we like the subject of increased well-being and happiness! It’s pleasing to see our residents interacting with pets, and to watch the smile broaden on their faces, and in their eyes. Research studies might prove the health benefits of pet ownership, but nothing says happiness like a big, broad smile.
Happiness via the simple act of a pet’s unconditional love? We say “meow-meow, bark-bark” to that!