senior woman caresses a cat in her garden

The Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Anyone who’s ever had a pet knows what a difference that bundle of fur makes in their life. The benefits of having a pet include companionship, unconditional love and, for dog owners, a reason to get off the couch and out the door for a walk.

Just petting an animal is good for your health. Fifteen minutes of bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of cortisol and increasing production of serotonin, causing a drop in your heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. Over the longer term, pets can help lower cholesterol levels, fight depression, and may even help protect against heart disease and strokes.

That’s a pretty good deal, considering all a dog asks of its owner is to be fed and exercised. Cats require even less attention, as long as you don’t mind them purring on your lap while you’re trying to read.

Why Pets Are a Senior’s Best Friend

Older adults are more likely to experience loneliness, depression and loss of mobility. Having a pet could be the best prescription there is to make them feel better. If you’re considering inviting a pet into your life, here are five benefits of pets for seniors. 

  1. Companionship. Pets are attuned to our feelings and boost emotional wellness. They’re the perfect companion to turn to whether you’re feeling sad or happy. They won’t judge and they’ll never tell your secrets to anyone. If you can’t bear to be apart, smaller dogs, in particular, can easily travel with you wherever you go.
  1. Having a routine. Caring for a pet can give structure and purpose to your life. Dogs need to be fed, walked and nurtured at regular intervals; they thrive on structure. Cats need feeding, grooming and time to play. Pets give you a reason to get out of bed and take care of an animal that needs you.
  1. Exercise. It’s easy to skip your daily walk when the weather’s not cooperating or your human walking buddy can’t make it that day. Dogs, however, need a daily walk to keep fit, and they help you stay healthy by making sure you go with them. If you don’t think you can keep up with a dog, playing a game of cat-and-mouse with Mittens will get you moving and keep you both amused.
  1. Lower stress. If simply petting a dog or cat reduces your stress level, imagine how much better you’ll feel with a four-legged friend around full-time. They’re like living, breathing stress balls that love us unconditionally. Lowering stress levels is one of the great benefits of pets for seniors.
  1. Making friends. Dogs will introduce you to everyone from next-door neighbors to perfect strangers. While your dog soaks up the attention, you can strike up a conversation. Head for the park and let Bowser take it from there.

Pets Are Part of the Family at Timber Ridge

You don’t have to give up the benefits of having a pet when you move to Timber Ridge. As a pet-friendly senior living community, pets are as much a part of our family as the people who live here. In fact, your pet will think it’s landed in paradise. There are loads of trails and woods to explore a short walk from your apartment. Your four-legged friend will love all the trees, and you can enjoy spectacular mountain views from the comfort of your independent living residence. Dogs even have their own club at Timber Ridge. You’ll feel like a VIP as well with our friendly hospitality and life-enhancing amenities and services. To learn more about what makes life at Timber Ridge so doggone special, contact us. We’re always happy to answer your questions.