Companion Animals for Seniors | John Rosata | Animal Companionship

John Rosata
2 min readApr 1, 2022

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Companion animals are becoming a widely-recognized way to bring comfort and health to an elderly person. Companion animals are able to provide lonely seniors with companionship, especially when they have little or no family to spend time with. There are a number of well-known benefits for seniors who have companion animals.

Physical Activity

Because many popular household pets like dogs need physical activity, research suggests that those who own a pet are more likely to engage in physical activity.

Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Not only does owning a pet help to increase physical activity leading to better physical health, it also leads to increases in mental health. Research has found that owning a pet releases an important feel-good endorphin known as oxytocin. This may be a result of increased comfort, laughing or physical activity. This ultimately helps contribute to the increase in physical health as well.

Lowers Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Owning a pet leads to a wide range of cardiovascular benefits including lowering blood pressure, increasing the lipid profile, and increasing the body’s response to stress.

Increases Mindfulness

Pets bring large increases in mental anxiety and worry. As a result, pets can help improve mindfulness skills. This leads to a variety of benefits including increased concentration skills, better clarity of mind and relating to others.

Increases Socialization

Pet owners tend to participate in more socialization than seniors without pets. This is because activities that include pets, such as walking a dog or going to a dog pet, tend to result in increased social encounters. Additionally, pets help to provide close companionship.

Increased Sleep

Pets often help their caretakers stick to a regular sleeping routine. As a result, many senior pet owners report an increase in sleep during the night. Additionally, a pet can help bring companionship and reduce anxiety at night.

Increased Feelings of Security

Because pets help to reduce feelings of anxiety and bring companionship, they also help seniors have increased feelings of security when home alone. Especially if the senior has physical ailments that prevent them from protecting themselves, having a pet such as a dog nearby helps them to feel more protected.

Originally published at https://johnrosata.net on April 1, 2022.

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