Pets become beloved members of our families when they enter our lives. They offer companionship and comfort, along with keeping us active and engaged as we do our best take care of them. Research shows pets can also play a big part in helping us stay physically, mentally and cognitively healthy.
Results of the Kardiovize Brno 2030 study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, show that dog owners were more likely to engage in activities that created better cardiovascular health, like more physical activity, a healthier diet and ideal blood glucose levels.
According to the National Institutes of Health, interacting with pets and other animals has also been shown to decrease people’s levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and help lower blood pressure, as well as reduce loneliness, boost moods and increase feelings of social support. Many researchers believe the simple act of petting an animal’s fur calms the mind and leads to improved health.
Finding the Right Companion
Are you interested in getting a pet but not ready manage the high energy level of a puppy or kitten? An older pet might be the perfect solution. Older dogs and cats tend to be more available at shelters and rescues. They’re also more likely to be housetrained.
In general, cats tend to be lower-maintenance pets, as they don’t require the frequent walks and playtimes dogs do. However, they can also be less social, so it’s important to consider what you’re looking for in a companion. If you want to adopt a dog, check with your senior living community, landlord or homeowners’ association to see if they have any restrictions on breeds or size. Do your own research about different breeds’ energy levels, temperaments and grooming needs.
If you’re interested in another type of pet – like a bird – do research, talk with a reputable breeder or an animal rescue expert, and – if you live in a senior living community or apartment complex – see if that type of pet is allowed.
When possible, meet your prospective pet and ask lots of questions before you adopt, especially if you have mobility issues or environmental restrictions, or if the animal will be regularly interacting with other pets or visiting grandchildren.
Thinking about making the move to an independent living community, but worried about bringing your pet? Embark by Eclipse Senior Living communities are dog and cat friendly. Learn more here.