Guest writer: Lorrie Franco
If pets were fur-covered pills, they would be considered miracle drugs. According to the CDC, a number of studies have shown that just petting a dog or a cat can actually lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
Even though pets can be very beneficial to a person's health, many seniors aren't sure whether or not they should get one. If you are retired or approaching your retirement years, you might be wondering whether the responsibility of pet ownership is still right for you.
Because pets need to be fed, watered and exercised, their owners typically are more active than people who don't have furry friends. Most pets will also beg you to spend some quality time with them so that you're forced to leave your armchair for a little playtime, as well.
A Furry Friend
Pets are excellent companions. They are always happy to greet you and will give you a reason to get up in the morning. If you are worried that having a furry friend may be too much for you as you get older, consider using an app or two to help you with your pet.
If you are like many seniors, you probably have a number of pills you take each day and aren't sure whether or not you can remember your pet's medications, as well. Apps like Pet Minder PRO help you remember your pet's monthly heartworm medication.
Research has shown again and again that pets can be mini miracle workers for your physical health; but did you know they are also good for your mental health? According to the National Institute of Health, studies have shown that dogs can actually help their owners fight depression.
Even some hospitals, those bastions of cleanliness, are beginning to allow some pets in to provide additional comfort to their owners. For example, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago recently adopted a policy that allowed dogs and cats that met certain restrictions to visit their sick human moms and dads.
Pet owners tend to be happier than those people who don't have furry companionship. One of the worries, however, of many senior pet owners is that they will eventually have to lose their furry friends if they have to move into a retirement or assisted living community. Thankfully, a number of places, including many Emeritus senior retirement communities, recognize the benefits of pet ownership for their residents and allow seniors to keep pets in their apartments. Because many retirement and assisted living communities have size limitations on the dogs they accept, seniors should consider choosing smaller animals (under 20 lbs.) when selecting their next pets.
In addition to their many other benefits, pets can also get you out of your house to meet other people. Even if you only walk your dog around your block a couple times a week, you are bound to meet and greet at least few people.
Lorrie Franco is a pet lover from Boston who is studying to be a vet tech. In the meantime, she writes about animals every chance she gets.