Are you a part of the 62% of Americans who own a pet? If so, you most certainly experience the countless health benefits of caring for your furry companion. As a senior, you may wonder if having a pet can improve your health and vitality. Studies show that pets can allow you to experience the great outdoors more, give structure to your life, increase socialization, and decrease feelings of loneliness. Let us dig a little deeper and learn about these benefits in more detail.
A Happy Life
Many seniors suffer from low mood or depression, but hope for a better tomorrow may lie in owning a pet. A study, published in the 2011 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by the Miami University, performed a few studies with exciting results regarding our fluffy friends. One study found that people with pets showed higher self-esteem, which leads to a better relationship with yourself and others. People in the study reported feeling more conscientiousness and open to new experiences. This contributes to developing a more extroverted personality and increasing your sociability. The study also concluded that pets can be meaningful social support in our lives.
A Healthy Life
As we age, health problems emerge, such as decreased mobility and flexibility. According to the study, pet owners exercised more, showed better physical fitness, and experienced reduced stress levels. Any doctor will tell you that regular exercise is essential to living a longer and healthier life, while feeling stressed is extremely harmful to your well-being. Exercise helps prevent numerous health problems like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. The CDC also supports the benefits of owning a pet. It states that pets can decrease your cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels, as well as lower blood pressure.
A Longer Life
A happier and healthier life sounds great, but what about living a longer life? Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of Eden Alternative, conducted a lively experiment during his time as a physician in a nursing home. Disenchanted by the quality of life his patients experienced, he decided to do something radical. He purchased four dogs, eight cats, and four hundred parakeets for the nursing home. Dr. Thomas hoped that this addition of life and spontaneity would make a dramatic difference in his patients’ lives.
The results were incredible. Dr. Thomas immediately noticed a difference in the behaviors of the residents. For example, a man who had not spoken in months vocalized his interest in having a birdcage in his room, and he would talk to the birds regularly. The most dramatic results revealed a plummeting death rate at the facility. Residents lived longer and with 30% less medication. These animals clearly made residents healthier and happier.
Conclusion, Get a Pet!
Owning a pet should not be replaced with taking necessary medications, and you must be healthy enough to take care of one. But if you are able and want to reduce your stress, live a more exciting life, live a healthier life, and have more chances to go outdoors, get a pet! Caring for another living being will not only give you a more structured and purposeful life, you will also have a companion with whom to share your life.
Pets may give us a healthier life, but we need to make sure we are covered for all of our health needs. Get the best coverage for the best price.
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