Pet ownership offers many physical and emotional benefits for seniors.
Walking is great for your health, including when you’re older. Having a dog is a great impetus for getting out there and walking. In fact, in a study of older adults, dog walking was associated with lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, fewer limitations to daily living and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise. While the relationship with one’s dog may be a positive influence on physical activity for older adults, both dogs and cats also offer an incredible amount of love to our lives. Pets can give owners a purpose while reducing blood pressure and heart ailments.
If you’d love to have a pet in your life but feel the commitment of pet ownership is overwhelming, there are options such as fostering an animal, visiting with a therapy animal or volunteering to walk a neighbor’s dog or help at an animal shelter.
If you love animals, spending time in their presence, even temporarily, is likely to offer many of the same benefits of pet ownership without as much responsibility. This is something you can take advantage of at any age.
Ann Platt is owner of Pets Are Inn, an award-winning pet lodging business in Edina.