When you’ve considered aging in place, you may not have thought about one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health, adopting a pet. It may seem that having a pet would be just another thing to worry about when you already to need to look after yourself, but studies show that pets can actually be very good for someone who lives alone.
The recent National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 88% of those surveyed between the ages of 50 and 80 believed that their pet helped them enjoy life more and 86% said their pets made them feel more loved. Of course this is the case, pets really only have one job to do and that is to love their owners.
As you consider whether you should get a pet or not, you should consider your mobility. If you are not mobile at all, it will be difficult to take care of a pet on your own and this could be a major factor in whether or not you should get a pet to live with you at home. That being said, if you are mobile and able to take care of a pet there are some good reasons to adopt.
1. Pets help people stick to a routine. One of the easiest things for someone aging in place to do is to lose a sense of routine. A lack of routine can lead to memory loss, forget-fullness, and more habits that are detrimental to your overall health. A pet will help keep you on a regular schedule of feeding time and bathroom breaks.
2. Pets help ease pain. This is a scientifically proven fact. Studies have shown that looking into a pets eyes for five minutes can increase the body’s levels of oxytocin which will help a human alleviate some pain.
3. Pets encourage more physical activity in their owners. You already know that healthy aging adults still need to get exercise daily. 78% of those surveyed said that their pet required them to get out and moving on a regular basis.
While having a pet may not be right for everyone, the benefits of having a pet around are limitless. Another major benefit is that pets will allow their owners to feel less lonely which is a major source of consternation among aging adults. If you do decide to keep a pet as you are aging in place, make sure he/she is well trained so that if you are in need of a home health care agency visit they are well behaved and your medical needs can be attended to.