We Love Pets!
A while back we wrote about the benefits of pets during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Pets can in general help our mental health by combatting feelings of isolation. They can also encourage physical health such as walking. Today we are going to dive deeper into how pets can specifically support older adults and why that matters so much - especially now.
COVID Isolation in the Senior Community
At the time of writing this article we still face uncertainty in the COVID-19 pandemic. There is talk of a resurgence of cases post-halloween, and while some countries are managing to keep case numbers low, some states in the US, and some European countries are looking at another lock-down. This amount of stress and isolation is something we have been processing and adapting to for much of this year already, but it has been hitting our older adult community even harder.
Seniors already face feelings of isolation, and in many cases what little social structure they had has been cancelled this year. Because older adults have been affected more severely by COVID-19, protective and potentially isolating measures have been extreme.
How Pets Can Help
Our friends over at Sixty and Me have compiled some data showing that pets have been shown to help lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, reduce anxiety, and reduce aggressive behavior in demential patients. Pets also help older adults feel a sense of purpose in life.
According to a National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by the University of Michigan pets can help older adults enjoy life, feel loved, help them stick to a routine, and help them connect to other people. Some older adults even reported that pets can help them cope with pain.
Alternatives to Ownership
If pet ownership isn't right for you, there are other ways to have a furry friend in your life. Other options include fostering, volunteering at your local shelter, or pet sitting for others in your community.