By Lindsey Reynolds, PA-C

Pets can have an amazing effect on their owners. From unconditional love and support, to completing therapeutic duties, furry and feathered friends benefit their humans’ lives in many ways. Seniors benefit even more from having a pet in their lives.

As you age, things such as social interaction, activity and health conditions may affect your life and prevent you from doing the things you once enjoyed. Here is where a pet might fit in. Pets have been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase the activity and social interaction of their owners, especially with seniors. Pets boost your mood and decrease loneliness, Many seniors with pets have even reported a better quality of life.

If you have a pet, then you likely know these things are true. Don’t want the responsibility or cost of a pet? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t receive the benefits! Seniors who volunteer with an animal shelter or rescue organization can also have the same benefits of owning a pet. When you volunteer you can help a worthy organization and animals and receive the benefits of pet ownership without the cost. That’s a win-win situation! Unable to get away to volunteer? Well ,there are many pet therapy organizations that will bring a therapy animal to you so you can interact with the animal and receive similar benefits.

Pets take responsibility and some financial commitment, but the health benefits, love and support they provide are priceless. If you are a pet owner, you know this to be true. If you are not a pet owner but do love animals, maybe it’s time to explore volunteering to get your feet wet. You never know, you may just fall in love and find your next companion!