Pet-Friendly Senior Living Communities: Why Owning a Pet Helps Your Health
Any pet owner can attest that there’s nothing like receiving a warm welcome from your dog when you walk in the door or curling up with your cat on the couch to read a good book. However, the joys of owning a beloved pet can go beyond these simple pleasures. Pet ownership can actually promote better health–and for older adults, these health benefits can be even greater. Here are the top five ways that opening your home to a pet can benefit your physical and mental well-being.
1. By Improving Your Heart Health
Owning a pet doesn’t just make your heart swell with love; it can actually make your heart healthier. Studies led by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that pet owners have lower cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart attack. Even if you already experience heart programs, your furry friend can help. Studies have shown that pet owners with abnormal heart rhythms or previous heart attacks actually live longer than their pet-free counterparts.
2. By Getting You Moving
Working up the motivation to exercise can be tough, but your pet can help make the process easier. After all, nothing can prompt you to put on your walking shoes like your beloved dog holding his leash. For seniors having trouble staying active, this benefit can be substantial. Indeed, a poll conducted by AARP Bulletin found that 29 percent of seniors work out more after getting a dog, while a recent study in the U.K. showed that dog-owning seniors have 22 more active minutes and 2,760 additional steps each day.
3. By Soothing Your Stress
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever owned a pet, but pet ownership can dramatically lower your stress levels. Researchers have found that the act of petting a dog or cat can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels and trigger the release of an important relaxation hormone.
4. By Laying the Foundations For a Better Mood
Being around a frolicking pet is certainly a mood lifter, but owning a pet can provide even greater long-term benefits for your emotional and mental health. For many, having a four-legged friend around provides them with a sense of purpose and staves off loneliness; these additional pet ownership benefits can be particularly valuable for retirees. Indeed, experts have noted that those who own a pet report being happier and more trusting in general, while also needing to visit the doctor less frequently for minor issues.
5. By Boosting Your Social Connections
Maintaining an active social life as you age is critical for keeping your mind sharp and your mental well-being in balance, but it can be hard to meet new friends as you get older. Luckily, a pet can serve as an instant icebreaker, helping make it easier to strike up conversations and sow the seeds of friendship. In fact, a recent survey found that pet owners were more likely to know their neighbors than those without pets, and 40 percent of all pet owners reported finding social support from the people they got to know through their pets.
Nestled in the beautiful waterfront community of Hilton Head Plantation, the Cypress of Hilton Head is pleased to offer a warm, welcoming environment for our retired residents and their four-legged friends. Our active country club atmosphere promotes fun and healthy living in your golden years with an unparalleled menu of activities, services and other amenities. To learn more about the Cypress of Hilton Head, please contact us today to find out what we can offer you.