The Benefits of Pets for Elderly People

Published: 22/05/2019

At Bluebird Care Sevenoaks, we know how important the companionship of pets can be to our elderly homecare customers. But did you know that being around animals can have significant mental and physical health benefits?

As a nation of animal lovers, we all know how much pets enrich our lives. But for elderly people in particular, living with a pet can have a significant effect on wellbeing. As a home care provider, we help many of our customers continue to look after and enjoy the company of beloved pets, so we get to see the many physical and mental health benefits that spending time with our favourite animals can have. Here are just a few reasons why having a pet can improve the quality of life of older people.
Calming you down
Studies have shown that stroking a pet is so relaxing that it can actually lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reduce the levels of stress hormones in your system and lessen anxiety. Keeping these health problems in check is instrumental in lowering your risk of heart disease and strokes.
Keeping you active
Walking the dog gets you out and about and means you’re taking regular exercise which can help keep you fit and healthy. Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of medical conditions which are more common in later life, such as heart disease and dementia. It also helps to keep your bones and muscles strong which plays a big part in preventing falls in older age.
Providing love and companionship
With many older people living alone and over 1 million people over age 65 saying they feel chronically lonely, a pet can provide much needed companionship. If you have a dog, taking it for walks will give you the opportunity to meet more people in the local community. Talking to your pet can be very therapeutic too – they’ll listen to all your problems and they don’t answer back. The unconditional love they provide can also be a huge comfort to someone who feels isolated.
Improving your mood
Playing with your dog or stroking the cat is a great way to boost your mood. Pets have an uncanny ability to make us smile. In fact, interacting with our favourite animals helps to release happy hormones like serotonin and oxytocin that can improve mood and lower the risk of suffering from mental health problems like depression.
Giving you a sense of purpose
We all want to feel needed. As we age, work and family responsibilities tend to tail off and many older people report that they no longer feel they have the same sense of purpose in life. As our pets rely on us to keep them safe and well, the responsibility of nurturing them can make us feel more valued and be a great motivator to embrace day to day life.  
Bringing back memories and helping with communication
Animals can have a transformative effect on older people living with dementia and are often used in therapeutic settings. Having a cherished pet to nurture and focus on at home can help those with the condition to recall memories, feel calmer and encourage communication. They also provide a comforting, constant, familiar presence in a world that, for people living with dementia, is increasingly confusing.
Helping you to live at home with your pet
It’s a sad fact that many people who go into residential care or sheltered housing are forced to give up their beloved animals. We couldn’t imagine being parted from our pets, they’re a part of the family! That’s why our home care services are designed to support you and your pets to continue living together in safety and comfort of your own home.

In an age where over 50% of people over 60 report a low level of wellbeing, finding ways to improve the quality of life of older people is vital. At Bluebird Care Bromley, we believe that maintaining the relationship between our customers and their pets is a big part of the solution.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you or a family member to live independently and get the most out of life, give us a call on 01732-471-451 or get in touch online.