Pet ownership, regardless of age, has many benefits. Caring for another living being can provide great satisfaction, adding value and meaning to one’s life. Studies have shown that pets not only help reduce stress and lower blood pressure, they can increase social interaction as well as physical activity.
Can you say no when your dog wants to go for a walk? Dogs – even older dogs – have a lot of energy, and this encourages their owners to engage in healthy physical activities that are critical for long-term health.
A 2017 study showed that owning a dog caused older community members to walk for an additional 22 minutes each day. That’s over 130 extra hours of walking every year. And that time adds up: the average dog owner is much more likely to meet the recommended public health guidelines for physical activity that their counterpart.
It’s not just walking, of course! Owning a pet can help with stress and high blood pressure. According to the National Institute of Health:
“Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure.”
By reducing stress and encouraging activity, pets help everyone around them to become healthier, calmer, and happier. The benefits of human-animal bonding can’t be overstated.
Let’s be honest – have you ever seen a dog in a bad mood? They’re in a constant state of euphoria; those high spirits can’t help but lift ours.
Studies have found that simply being around animals can have a positive effect on an older person’s spirits. Seniors “tend to get up, talk and smile much more than when there are no pets around,” according to American Humane. Cat or dog, the benefit of having a pet extends beyond the owner, touching everyone around them.
In addition, a pet’s positive outlook can help their owner connect with others, as researcher Allen R McConnell explains in his 2011 article:
“Pet owners exhibited greater self-esteem, … were less lonely, were more conscientious, were more socially outgoing, and had healthier relationship styles… than nonowners.”
While it’s true that pet owners tend to be naturally more outgoing than their counterparts, caring for a pet can have knock-on effects in every other aspect of the owner’s life.
That’s why we celebrate the many animals who reside at the Greens: they’re part of the glue that holds our community together.
A number of cats and dogs reside at The Greens, each with their own unique personality:
First, there’s Luna, a chatty Abyssinian mixed cat whose owner says she’s never had a sweeter roommate.
Languid Lola beckons those who enter her domain to behold her carpet acrobatics, showcasing her white, downy belly.
Pasha, an endearing cow-cat (so described for her black and white bovine markings) is the perfect Evergreen mascot, availing herself to any and all she deems worthy!
Our canine residents are as beguiling as their feline counterparts. When Molly the Yorkie or Sophie the … we’re-not-sure-what … enter the lobby, heads turn, faces brighten, and hands stretch forth to make a furry feel-good connection.
Family members often visit with pets in tow, and it’s incredibly gratifying to watch steadfast introverts spring to life upon hearing the sound of a leash rattling, or paws padding down a hallway.
Pets bring out the best in people and the best in The Greens too.