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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Pets: 'An Effective Form Of Therapy'

Pets serve as effective tool for helping elderly cope with ageing According to Age UK, there are currently over 11 million people over the age of 65. Half of these say that either their pet or their television is their main source of companionship, with 1 out of every 8 confirming that their pet gave them most of their support and comfort.

Pets as therapy

Studies have shown that in both a residential care home and your own home, pets are effective at providing older people with moral support. Many doctors and psychologists view pets as a form of therapy that older adults experiencing physical or mental age-related health conditions can use to ease their side effects. 

Pets are particularly helpful in assisting older people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one or a situation that's causing depression or anxiety. Research has proved that the act of petting an animal helps people release endorphins, which has a calming impact on the mind and body. 

Physical and mental benefits

According to most studies, dogs and cats are equally beneficial as sources of therapy, but have been proven to be far more effective at helping people physically and mentally than other animals that are often used as pets.

When recovering from heart attacks, many patients see results after adopting a pet. The Guardian noted that, because numerous studies have shown that pets are able to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, heart attack patients benefit from the company of a pet.

The source also pointed to one study in particular by the University of Minnesota. Performed in 2008, the report showed that people who owned cats were 40 per cent less likely to have a heart attack. It's also thought that people who own cats and dogs have a strengthened immune system because they're exposed to the allergens released by fur. 

Senior citizens experiencing the onset of dementia, depression, and stress or anxiety also benefit from pets. An animal makes owners happier and more relaxed. For those developing memory loss, the frustration and confusion that can occur are commonly offset by the company of a dog or cat. 

At Sunrise Senior Living, all our residential care homes not only have their own pets, they welcome well-behaved pets that belong to residents, too. To learn more about how we can help and to find a location near you, contact us today.

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