A new study shows pets benefit seniors by keeping them company


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A new study done by Home Instead, an El Paso based in-home care company, shows that pets can help the elderly with a variety of things.

Home Instead says elderly people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible and animals help them do so.

“They can be home they can take care of that animal and in return that animal can take care of them as well,” said Samuel Patton the owner of Home Instead Senior Care.

Many seniors say their pet is a deciding factor on where they will live as they age. With many not even considering moving to a senior living community without their furry friend. Pets give seniors a sense of purpose and someone to talk to.

“I was falling into a depression. She would keep me so busy that I never concentrated on me. I started running with her, playing with her, taking her out, walking her, she likes to play a lot,” said Sylvia Mendez a pet owner.

The study shows the benefits of pet ownership

  • 66% Entertainment and improved mood
  • 58% Not as physically healthy without pets
  • 86% Lonelier and less happy without pets

The most popular choice of pets for seniors are dogs. Like Sylvia Mendez, and her chihuahua Sunshine, who says Sunshine helped her through a difficult time in her life.

“I had lost my husband so I was in sort of a slump and when she came to me it took me out of that slump completely,” said Mendez.

While owning a pet has proven beneficial, not everyone is capable of caring for an animal on their own.

“If you can have something high maintenance like a dog and they can handle it, then it’s great. Other times you can get something low maintenance like a desert tortoise we have a lot of clients that have tortoises,” Patton with Home Instead Senior Care.

If you can’t have a pet you can still benefit from simply interacting with family members, friends or a neighbors’ pet to help reduce loneliness.

If you or someone you know is interested in finding a pet, Home Instead offers free resources to help families and seniors determine the right type of pets. Visit PetsandSeniors.com for more information.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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