Pets improve humans’ lives in more ways than one. For seniors, they may find that having a pet is entirely beneficial in improving their lives.

A Place for Mom, an organization that matches families with the right senior living residences, says pets provide seniors a comfort system. Having pets around helps lower their stress hormones and increases their serotonin, or the “happy chemical.”

The National Poll on Healthy Aging found in a recent survey that 88 percent of residents who have pets said their companion animals help them enjoy life, while 86 percent of them said their pets made them feel loved.

Here are a few other benefits of having pets:

1. Reduces pain – Pain Magazine published a study on therapy dogs back in 2012 and found that pooches provide a “significant reduction in pain and emotional distress for chronic pain patients.”

2. Renews purpose – Having an animal around gives seniors a reason to get up and go do physical activities.

3. Alters focus – New York-based psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld says having a pet helps seniors focus on something else other than the negatives, like mental health issues or some other things in their lives like loss or aging.

4. Improves health – The Harvard Medical School found that dog owners have lower blood pressures, lower cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease than those who do not have an animal companion.

5. Maintains a routine – Caring for pets helps seniors stick to a routine. This is important for them, especially after retirement to help them ward off risk of depression and prevent cognitive decline.

You might want to read:
– Caring for senior animals
– Senior dogs are pawsome! Here’s why you should open your heart to an older pooch
– Woman opens hospice for abandoned senior dogs to enjoy their last days