There’s a simple way to improve health, be happier, and even live longer—and it often involves four legs, fur, and a wagging tail. Studies have shown that owning a cat or dog improves emotional and physical well-being. Caring for a pet can keep seniors active and moving. Taking a dog for a walk outside or to the park can provide social opportunities. Most importantly, nurturing a pet gives seniors a feeling of purpose and satisfaction.
Senior communities are realizing the importance of animal companionship. Many either welcome small pets into their living spaces or organize pet therapy, where animals come to visit and interact with seniors. Pet therapy has been shown to have an incredible impact in a short time period. Just spending an hour petting a cat or dog can significantly improve emotional health and can help healing.
Even if the senior close to you can’t keep a pet in their living space or can’t take care of a pet, interacting with animals can still be incredibly beneficial. Organize an outing to a dog park and watch the puppies play. Remember to always ask before petting another person’s dog or cat. Visit a petting zoo, or go to an animal shelter and volunteer.
For more information about pet therapy and the importance of animals to senior health, call AlmaVia of San Francisco at 415-508-5500 or visit http://www.almaviaofsanfrancisco.org.