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Living Proof That Pets Enhance Life as You Age

Millie Jameson lost her husband of 49 years suddenly at age 75.
 
After months of feeling paralyzed with shock and distress, what finally helped her grief subside, was adopting a cat from a local rescue agency.

 
Millie found tremendous relief in having a new constant companion and she felt good knowing she had liberated Luna from her lonely life in a cage.
 

“Luna gave me a renewed sense of purpose; someone to care for again; a reason to get up and keep going each day,” said the retired high school English teacher. “She is always here so I don’t feel alone.”

 
According to a national poll on healthy aging conducted by Michigan University, pet companionship can offer numerous benefits related to the health and well-being of seniors.
 
In the study of over 2,000 people ages 50 – 75, more than 55 percent reported having at least one pet and several of those had more than one. Almost 80 percent said their pets help reduce stress in their lives, and many reported that having a pet gives them:
 

  • a sense of purpose & a feeling of being loved
  • added incentive to stay active
  • a way to socialize & connect with others
  • a distraction from their physical aches & pains
  • an antidote for emotional trials

 
Millie can attest to experiencing many such positive enhancements since adopting Luna.
 
She mentions how her arthritis is much less noticeable and she presumes that this is because she doesn’t focus on it as much as she used to. She says her insomnia and night-time anxiety has also greatly improved.
 
Millie also explains, “right after I adopted Luna, a new family with two young daughters moved in next door. They can’t have a pet because their dad is allergic, so they come over to my house and spend all kinds of time with Luna and me. I feel a bit guilty about how much happiness this brings to me.”

 

In April of this year, MarketWatch outlined 5 benefits for senior pet ownership, raising the point that the structure and routine that comes with caring for a pet can help keep the mind sharp as we age and may ward off anxiety and depression.
 
Other studies highlight the physiological benefits of pet interaction, including:

  • decreased blood pressure
  • lower pulse
  • drop-in cholesterol
  • increased levels of serotonin and dopamine

“Oh, I’m not surprised at all that there are all kinds of findings that a pet is good for you. Look at me! I don’t know that I could have survived losing my husband if it weren’t for my Luna-love. As far as I’m concerned, I’m living proof,” said Millie.
 

Pets at AgeCare

Are you interested in Retirement Living but don’t want to say good-bye to your companion? Book a tour at one of our pet-friendly communities AgeCare Columbia (Lethbridge), AgeCare Harmony Court Estate (Burnaby).


Other related reading:
https://www.rd.com/advice/pets/benefits-having-pet/ 
https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/pets-can-help-seniors-stay-happy-and-healthy
https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets

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