Pets and the Elderly: The Benefits of a Furry Friend
While we all love our pets, the unconditional love of an animal can have an amazing effect on elderly people. Pip the Cockerpoo from the Oxford team has made quite the impression on the people we support. While she’s very cute, having Pip as a furry friend can also benefit their physical and mental health.
Stroking a pet as friendly and loveable as Pip has been proven to release endorphins, which have a calming effect. This can result in lower blood pressure and an improvement in cardiovascular health.
It’s hard not to smile when meeting Pip, but the effect spending time with a dog can have on our mental health goes much deeper.
The comfort gained from interacting with a pet reduces stress, and it is even thought that people living with Alzheimer’s have fewer anxious outbursts when they own a pet.
Particularly at the moment, where older people have been feeling disconnected and isolated while shielding, pets can help to reduce boredom and lift spirits.
When Lora from the Oxford team visits David and his wife Margaret, Pip tags along and has become a valuable member of the team. David and Margaret love Pip and look forward to her visits. Margaret can see such a change in David while Pip is in the house, as she makes him smile and laugh and is the highlight of his day. Pip was even a special guest at David’s birthday tea party!
Pip also loves to visit Eunice and sit on her lap to get strokes. Eunice often reminisces about her dog Rufus and all the mischief he used to get up to, and having cuddles with Pip reminds her of all the happy memories.
Pip can’t wait for the next time she gets to visit her friends!