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Despite Added Quality Of Life for Seniors, Pet Ownership Decreases with Age

The advantages of pet ownership for seniors are undeniable. 

   Some studies show pet ownership lowers blood pressure. 
   Others reveal pet ownership relieves depression and lowers triglyceride levels.  
   There's even data showing post-heart-attack and/or stroke patients that are dog owners live longer than non-dog-owners. 

A Heart

    We could go on and on about studies and data but the fact is, as a pet owner, none of these stats surprise me.   

    There are some things in life we just know, without even needing to 'see the numbers.' 

    Knowing that by being a long-time pet lover and owner, my physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual health are benefited, 
is plain fact to me.

Former foster dog Chester and me. 

    And knowing these benefits are even more significant for our senior 
population isn't surprising.  

    -As we age, we often spend more time alone so the benefit of companionship a pet offers is noteworthy
    -As we age, we might become complacent with exercise and activity regimens.  A pet can motivate us to get up and get moving a little more quickly in the mornings.
    -Pets function especially well as a social connector for many seniors.  Pets bridge the gap for the elderly, serving as a common topic of interest for 8 yr. old pet owners - 80 year old pet owners... and all ages in between! 

    Knowing all of this, it is a bit surprising pet ownership declines with age. 

    Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising. My own grandmother, mom's side, and grandfather, dad's side, are no longer pet owners and haven't been for quite some time. 

My grandmother, mother and sister with mom and sister's dogs.

    Pets can increase the risk of falling for seniors.  And what if our senior family members and friends need to spend time in a hospital or rehab facility? -Then what? 

    What I've found seniors worry about when it comes to pet ownership is: what will happen to my pet(s) if something happens to me?

    This concern discourages many seniors from taking a pet into their heart and home.  And that to me is sad.  

    Several months ago I held an informative session on what The Paw and Feather Plan does, one attendee was a woman in her 70's.  Her cat had died and she really missed having a cat.  She wanted another cat but wasn't convinced it'd be responsible for her to adopt a cat due to her own age.  

    As someone very involved in pet rescue, I know there's no shortage of cats in need of loving homes in our current city of Louisville, Ky.  And knowing this kind woman could give one of those cats a loving home, and one of those cats could add to her quality of life, made me feel even more compelled to get the word out about what we do!
Twix Kitten When He Was Looking for a Home!

    I was able to tell this woman, "You can adopt a cat.  There are so many great cats in need of a home.  I can even help you find the right one if you like. With the help of Kelli, my estate planning friend, you can put a plan in place for your cat in the event something happens to you while the cat's still living."  

    I have no idea if that lady went ahead and adopted a cat.  I never heard from her again. 

    And that's fine. We are here, doing the work we are called to do, as a family, for whenever and whomever needs us.  
    We offer you and your pets a security blanket, a 'safe place to land' should something happen to you.

Lastly, in regards to seniors and pets, dogs often come to mind with the mention of pets.

    Dogs make excellent pets for a lot of people; we have four at the moment.  But please recall, dogs aren't the only option... cats, birds, even rabbits, can make excellent pets for seniors in particular.

    Seniors often have time on their hands... to think of all the training they could offer a cockatiel for example, exciting right?! 

A Cockatiel

Articles Referenced in the Creation of This Blog Post: 


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