There are many benefits to owning a dog for older adults, including improved mental and physical health, social opportunities, and increased security. Dog-friendly senior living communities offer residents the chance to live with their pets, providing companionship and practical advantages.
Mental health benefits of dog ownership include decreased loneliness and depression, increased feelings of well-being, and improved cognitive function. Physical health benefits include increased opportunities for exercise, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and enhanced recovery from cardiovascular disease.
In addition to the individual benefits of dog ownership, senior living communities that allow pets provide social opportunities for residents to interact with their neighbors and foster a sense of community. For many older adults, the presence of a dog can also give a sense of security, particularly in senior living communities where crime rates may be higher.
It would help if you also considered the costs associated with dog ownership. Senior living communities that allow pets typically charge pet fees and may have breed or size restrictions. In addition, dog owners are responsible for the cost of food, toys, and veterinary care.
Despite the additional costs, the benefits of dog ownership for older adults are well worth considering. For many, the companionship of a furry friend can make all the difference in their quality of life.
Below are some health benefits of owning a dog for older adults:
- Keep You Fit: One of the health benefits of owning a dog for older adults is that it can help to keep you active and fit. Taking your dog for regular walks can help improve your fitness levels and reduce your risk of developing heart disease or a stroke. Walking with a dog is also a great way to meet new people, which can help to combat loneliness and social isolation.
- Lower Your Blood Pressure: Another of the health benefits of owning a dog for older adults is that it can help to lower your blood pressure. It is because spending time with your dog can help reduce stress levels, which can help lower your blood pressure.
- Reduce Your Risk of Depression: One of the benefits of dog ownership that is particularly relevant for older adults is that it can help reduce your risk of developing depression. It is because dog owners tend to have higher levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone,’ which can help to improve your mood and combat feelings of sadness or loneliness.
- They Make You Healthier: Owning a dog can also help to boost your immune system and reduce other illnesses. It is because dog owners are exposed to more germs than non-dog owners, which helps to build up their immunity over time.
- They’re Good for Your Mental Health: One of the most surprising dog ownership benefits is that they can be good for your mental health. Dogs can help reduce stress levels and improve your mood, positively impacting your overall mental well-being.
- They Can Help You to Quit Smoking: One of the health benefits of owning a dog that may surprise you is that they can help you to quit smoking. It is because dog owners are less likely to smoke than non-dog owners, so if you’re trying to give up smoking, owning a dog could be the motivational boost you need.
- Heart Health: Dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-dog owners, reducing your risk of developing heart disease.
- Help Relieve Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation: One of the leading dog ownership benefits for older adults is that they can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. It is because dogs provide companionship and can help you to meet new people, giving you a sense of community and belonging.
- Can Speed up Recovery: One of the benefits of dog ownership is that dogs can help you to recover from illness. It is because dog owners tend to have lower stress and anxiety levels, which can aid healing.
- Help People be Mindful: Dogs can help people to be more mindful. It is because dog owners usually take a break from their busy lives to walk their dogs, giving them time to clear their minds and relax.
- Boost Quality of Life: Dogs can help to boost your quality of life. It is because dog ownership has increased happiness and satisfaction, meaning you’ll enjoy your life more if you have a furry friend.
What are the average senior living costs?
The average senior living costs vary on the type of community and the location, but the average price of a private room in a senior living community is $3,500 per month. Assisted living communities typically cost between $2,000 and $4,000 per month, while nursing homes can cost upwards of $7,000 per month. Dog-friendly senior living communities are often more expensive than traditional ones, but the benefits of owning a dog may make them worth the extra cost.
Paying for senior living costs can be challenging for many older adults, but there are ways to offset the costs. Medicaid and Medicare typically cover some of the costs associated with senior living, and long-term care insurance can also help to reduce the financial burden. Additionally, many dog-friendly senior living communities offer discounts or other incentives for dog owners, so be sure to ask about any available options.
When it comes to senior living costs, dog ownership is an expense that should take into consideration. However, the benefits of owning a dog may outweigh the costs for many older adults. If you’re considering dog ownership, speak with your doctor or other healthcare providers to ensure it’s the right decision.