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The aging process has a noticeable effect on the body and soul; some effects are positive, while others may be more challenging. Seniors frequently find themselves confronted with various health challenges, both physical and emotional. The effects of these health issues can have a major impact on the quality of life of our society’s elderly members, causing them to suffer from ailments such as high blood pressure, isolation, and depression. Fortunately, there is a beautiful way to help seniors navigate their lives and heal some of their health issues: therapy pets. A gentle lick on the hand from a loving poodle or the soft purr of a kitten can bring immense and immediate relief. There are many benefits of therapy pets, both physical and emotional, for seniors.

Owning or interacting with a therapy pet allows seniors to maintain their physical health, primarily because they are more active. Dogs need to be walked, which encourages seniors to stay mobile and to get outside and exercise. Pets need to be bathed and groomed, allowing owners to utilize their motor skills to care for their beloved friends. Even the simple act of petting a furry head has been shown to lower blood pressure, normalize heart rhythms, and reduce stress. Senior pet owners with heart conditions typically live longer than seniors without pets. The physical benefits of owning a pet can change the trajectory of a senior’s life for the better.

The emotional benefits of therapy pets for seniors are profound. Seniors often feel isolated and depressed, and therapy pets provide invaluable support and love for them. Anxiety and depression are reduced when seniors can show love to another sentient being. Pets encourage socialization, as they listen without judgment and provide continuous affection. Patients with dementia often have meaningful interactions with therapy pets, as they can express their love for pets without needing to use language skills. Caring for a pet by providing for all its needs, from getting up to feed it breakfast to playing fetch with its favorite ball, endows the pet parent with a sense of purpose. Having a reason to get up, maintaining a daily schedule, and having a devout companion to pass the time with are all vital importance for the emotional health of seniors.