In Spain there are a great number of adopted animals that belong to the elderly population. Many studies show that the benefits for the elderly to share their daily lives with a pet are numerous and remarkable. According to a report by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), caring for, looking after and protecting an animal helps to improve our self-esteem, maintains a positive mood and, most importantly, helps to considerably reduce the feeling of loneliness suffered by a large part of the population. The feeling of loneliness is considered one of the main reasons why the rate of adopting animals has increased in the past few years.
For many seniors, having a cat or dog is a source of satisfaction and a lifesaver. The obligations that come with having an animal make the person who is in charge of this responsibility continuously entertained, so the symptoms of loneliness or boredom can be attenuated quite a lot. Animals are usually quite effective against depression and although it is not a 100% successful method (it depends on many factors), it is clear that the work of taking care of a pet makes people feel entertained and accompanied.
Having an animal can also bring other positive effects such as an active lifestyle; walking a furry can provide a fun and stimulating daily activity that also allows to work socially with other people and their pets.
What benefits can the furry ones bring to our elders?
The benefits are innumerable, but if we have to highlight some of them, they would be the following:
Mental stimulation: Having pets around stimulates the senses; smell, sight, hearing and touch, so that mental stimulation remains active and developed.
No stereotypes: Animals do not care about our age or appearance, they love us as we are, this makes many people feel valued without being judged.
Contact: Furry animals are affectionate and usually like contact, this will make some older people who miss contact feel grateful and comforted.
Participation: Thanks to the presence of animals, many people will be encouraged to play and participate in various activities.
To sum up, the benefits of providing our elderly ones with pets are the company that animals are able to give the elderly, the fact that it reduces the feeling of loneliness, stimulates communication, enhances affection, improves social skills, stimulates attention and memory and, above all, brings them a priceless joy.