Pets are not only good companions for senior citizens, they have also shown to improve senior health, according to the American Animal Health Hospital Association. Assisted living communities have begun to integrate pets into their care through neighborhood pet therapy programs, and more communities are allowing seniors to bring their companion animals with them into assisted care and retirement homes.
Research has shown that pet therapy is more than having a cute friend to cuddle with. In fact, there are actually scientific results that the physical and mental benefits that come from a furry friend are undeniable. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke. This is why pet therapy for senior citizens can be so beneficial.
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Here are a few other health benefits associated with pet companionship, according to a University of Minnesota study and experts in the field:
So having a furry companion can be very therapeutic to senior citizens. Summit at Northwest Hills Brookdale Senior Living in Austin, Texas, discusses the benefits they’ve witnessed from being a pet-friendly community:
“We love our residents and we love their pets. Pets have a special way of lighting up our resident’s hearts and we feel that is one more way that makes our community a home!”