Human beings are social creatures. Even when we lived in caves and hunted wooly mammoths, we did it in groups. There always has been, and always will be, strength in numbers.
As we stated in last week’s blog post, the elderly have a greater risk for isolation due to mental and physical decline, less active social groups and distressing life events that generally occur in later years. So this week, we’re dishing out three alternative tips to prevent social inactivity for your loved one.
First, puppies and kittens aren’t just for little kids. Pets have some very positive effects on the elderly, too:
- Active – Studies show that elderly people who own pets are more active than those who do not, which suggests that taking care of a “dependent” keeps them engaged and more active.
- Isolation Buffer — The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports that caring for a dog or cat buffers against isolation and loneliness in the elderly.
- Self-Worth – The “caretaking role” involved in pet ownership often provides older people with a sense of purpose and responsibility, boosting their self-worth.
- Cheer – The lighthearted interactions with pets — from playing with and training them to simply petting them — promote a cheery demeanor and reduces feelings of apathy that often come with old age.
These benefits are especially valuable to elderly individuals whose family and friends don’t live close by. So if think your loved one would enjoy the companionship of a pet, — and if he or she is able to care for one — propose the idea. Embrace the benefits of “pet therapy” together!
Ready for Tip #2? Subscribe to our blog or check back soon. It’s a good one, so don’t miss out!
How much has having a pet impacted you or your loved one’s emotional well-being? Share with us in the comments below.