Did you know that pets are good for your health? Fact is, our four-legged friends are not only good for our physical health, they could also be a real mental health booster. The proof is in several studies.

Good for your heart

The Mayo Clinic found that owning a pet — especially a dog — could help a pet owner maintain a healthy heart. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190823080027.htm) Another study reported that “people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at an ideal level.” According to the study, one’s age, gender and education level didn’t matter — the benefits were overwhelming for both young and old. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190823080027.htm) This makes logical sense, since you’re up and at ‘em with your pet on daily walks, and moving is always good for your body.

The American Heart Association couldn’t agree more in their statement on the benefits of owning a dog in terms of physical activity, engagement and reduction of cardiovascular disease risk. When you consider that lower blood pressure, reduced stress and a healthy heart are the benefits of having a pet, they’re undoubtedly a senior’s best friend.

Good for your mind

Yet what about depression and loneliness? Pets are the very best antidote for seniors (or anyone). The University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging asked a sample of adults age 50 to 80 years of age about their pets. (https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/report/how-pets-contribute-healthy-aging) How did their pets make them feel? Happy! They help them enjoy life and make them feel loved. They help them connect with other people — and even help them cope with physical and emotional symptoms, taking their mind off of pain.

One study even backs that up that “feel-good” reaction to pets. It found that just 15 minutes bonding with an animal “sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of cortisol — often called the stress or “fight-or-flight” hormone — and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.”

Summit Pointe Senior Living appreciates the value of our furry friends and welcomes them in our community. Our residents enjoy the company of their pets and a better quality of life — thanks to their companionship and unconditional love. Having “Spot” or “Fluffy” around is just one way we help seniors enjoy their golden years with us.