How Can Older People Benefit from Cat Companionship?

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How Can Older People Benefit from Cat Companionship?

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Cats, especially the senior ones, have shown as the great companions for older people. Not only that they can affect their health in a positive way, but also can provide an ear to listen their owners when necessary and comfort them when feeling lonely. However, the relationship with animals cannot compare with relationship with another human being, but spending time with the cat every now and then can be more beneficial, especially on those days when we feel vulnerable and craving for emotional support. From this point of view, they are really out of competition. They offer unconditional love and completely accept their owners as who they are. They have no judgments and biases. They teach us how to relax, be spontaneous, and go with the flow. The article “Benefits of Pets to Older People Celebrated at House of Lords”, written by The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), lists the key benefits that older people can have of their companionship with cats.

How Can Older People Benefit from Cat Companionship?

• Pet owners make fewer visits to the doctors – pet owners are healthier and pay 15% fewer visits to doctors in Germany –a saving of €5.9 billion pa.
Pensioners that own a dog visit their doctors 21 % less than non-dog owners.

• Pets help reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress – just stroking pets or watching fish swim in an aquarium leads to reduced blood pressure and lower
anxiety. The presence of a pet can reduce the heart rate even in stressful situations.

• Pets help increase owners’ activity levels –amongst its other benefits, dog walking helps reduce obesity (a £5 billion pa burden on the NHS).

• Pets increase social engagement and cohesion – dogs in social settings encourage more social interactions. Other workers have found an effect with rabbits
or turtles. Pets may also reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

• As we get older – pets in care homes can ameliorate loneliness. Aquariums have been found to improve behaviour and staff satisfaction in dementia units.
An aquarium in the dining room improved appetite among residents.

• And pets benefit too – just as stroking a pet reduces blood pressure and heart rate in humans, the same is true for our pets.

For every older person, maintaining a daily routine can have a huge impact on overall health. After the years of obligations and responsibilities that came from the workplace or family, the ageing can find some kind of void in their lives, not easy to fill. In order to establish regular daily routine and fill that void, many older people find having a pet as the very beneficial way. Caring for the pet brings structure and purpose in older people’s lives. Taking responsibility for the pet make them worthy and useful again, because they feel that pets need their help and are extremely grateful for any effort. This sense of responsibility forces them to take care more of themselves, which is another benefit from relationship with cats.

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