Senior nursing homes and assisted living communities are starting to turn more and more like traditional housing.   One thing that has been utilized in senior nursing homes over the years, but it becoming more and more common is the use of permanent pets at the facilities.   More and more community centers are starting to allow full-time pets as they have seen a rise in moral in seniors.  Let’s take a look into 5 ways that pets are helping seniors.

  1. therapy-dogsLoneliness: One of the most stressful things for a senior is to lose the one that they were married too.  Often times a senior does not move into a nursing home or assisted living community until after their spouse passes away and they no longer have assistance at their house.  Despite this evitable loss, many seniors will find companionship from a dog or another animal that will help them with the loneliness issues.  Not only are dogs a great way to keep seniors occupied but they often help them fill the void that they lost from their spouse.
  2. Exercise: Because animals need walked, bathed and fed there is always some type of physical activity involved with pets. Many pets will be the ones to get their owners out of bed in the morning and the ones to force them outside when they normally wouldn’t go.   Dogs especially are very dependent on their owners and this requires constant attention to their feeding and other needs.   A daily walk with a dog is something that many seniors look forward to as this is often the only exercise that they get.
  3. Meeting Others: Pets often serve as icebreakers for seniors that may be too shy to talk to others or just don’t know what to say in a conversation.   If you have a dog or another animal that you take on walks in a crowded area just count one time how many times you are stopped to talk to someone about your dog.   Kids and other pet owners love animals and they will go out of their way to talk to you if you are walking around with a pet.
  4. Piece of Their “Old” Life: Many seniors move into a nursing home or another type of senior housing center after years of living at a house.   Besides pictures and clothes, many of these seniors have no other things to tie them to their old environment.  Many animals will bring back this feeling as they make the nursing home seem like a “home” instead of just a place where they are currently residing.
  5. Responsibility: Many seniors who work their whole life often become bored and lazy when they move into a senior living center with nothing to do.   Watching TV all day is not very good for an older person as it makes their life very sedentary.   Having a pet is something that not only requires responsibility, but also gives owners something to do when boredom sets in.

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