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Why Having Small Pets Helps Seniors Live Longer

Moving to an assisted living community might seem impossible if your favorite furry friend isn’t welcome.

Moving to an assisted living community might seem impossible if your favorite furry friend isn’t welcome. But at Solterra Senior Living, small pets are welcome in all of our apartments. Not only would it be too much of a change to leave your dog or cat behind, but having small pets in our lives—and especially in a senior’s life—helps in many ways, including helping you live longer. Here are three reasons why small pets are welcome at Solterra:

1. Reduces Stress

There are many kinds of stress, and one type seniors often experience is emotional stress. This may pop up during a major life change, such as moving to assisted living or memory care. All of the turmoil caused by reorganizing your old home, giving away or donating things you don’t want or are unable to take with you, and settling into a new place can cause plenty of headaches.
However, having a small pet to keep you grounded can go a long way, not just in the short term. In fact, having a cat or dog in your life can even give you a buffer so that if you experience stress, your threshold will be much higher than previously. A pet is good for your mental health at any stage of your life.
Pet ownership is also known to give a sense of purpose and meaning. If you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning due to depression, well—the cat still has to be fed! From there, it’s easier to recognize that you need breakfast too.

2. Increases Physical Activity

No matter whether you have a dog or a cat, your pet will help you get off your chair and move around. Dogs—and even some cats—appreciate going for a walk, making sure that you get a walk in too. Walking is an excellent exercise for seniors since it’s a low-impact activity and something you don’t need extra equipment for—except maybe good walking shoes.
Dog owners are more likely to meet the recommended amount of physical activity per week through walking or playing with their dogs. Even a game of fetch can give you that increased blood circulation. Not only will you be taking steps toward maintaining a healthy weight, but you’ll also be less likely to get sick and manage conditions such as heart disease. Plus, you’ll sleep better, and when you are physically active, there’s a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease as well.

3. Creates a Social Connection

Many seniors ages 65 to 85 live alone. Loneliness can be a serious condition, leading to depression and anxiety. It’s important to maintain relationships as a senior, and having a furry friend to talk to or play with can make a world of difference.
In addition, pet owners are more likely to get to know other people in their neighborhood than non-pet owners. Since you will go out walking with your dog or cat, you are more likely to run into people around you, and who doesn’t like meeting a friendly dog on a walk? This can be the catalyst for friendships and connections within your community, which is important to help maintain a person’s mental health.
To learn more about Solterra and our amenities, reach out to us today.