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Enjoying a pet by your side just makes things better. Those thousands of cat memes on social media can’t be wrong, after all. They provide endless entertainment and infinite love. Having a pet has also been known to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, provide social interaction and physical activity — all good things to keeping the mind and body active and engaged as we age.

1. Pets give purpose

Your furry friends can automatically overlay structure onto the day. A dog needs to be fed, taken on regular walks, have playtime, cuddles, and the occasional grooming. Even fish require regular maintenance in terms of feeding, tank cleaning, etc. Any type of pet means that you’re not just getting up for you in the morning, you’re getting up for your new BFF — Best Furry Friend.

2. Pets provide love

It’s true. Pets offer up their own brand of adoration, whether it’s curling up on your feet, coming in for playtime, or purring, they physically express what they can’t say. Pets also have an uncanny knack for knowing when you’re down. They’ll stay close and often their whole demeanor softens as if they “understand” that you need them.

3. The physical benefits of pets

The simple act of walking the dog around the block (several times a day) can have immense benefits: Improved cardiovascular health and an increase in other healthy habits, for example.

4. Pets are something to talk about (and to)

Pets, especially dogs, often inherently force their owners to be more social; they talk to their pet, to other dog owners they meet on their daily walk, and even pet playdates. Having a pet also gives seniors something to dote on and therefore share about with their peers and caregivers.

5. Pets are a great distraction

It becomes increasingly easy to fixate on our problems, the woes of aging, and the people we’ve lost along the way as we age. A pet can refocus that attention into the present and provide an anchor to the here and now, in turn diminishing depressive thoughts and negative spirals.

The key to pet companionship for seniors is finding the perfect match, just like in any relationship. Going into pet ownership fully prepared with an understanding of all factors will help determine just the right type, age, sex, and temperament of the pet. If you are giving the senior in your life a pet, some questions to ask are:

· Has the senior owned a pet before?

· Does the senior have any physical or monetary limitations?

· Is the pet healthy?

· Is there a backup plan for the pet if the senior were to suddenly pass away?

If you or the senior in your life tick all the right boxes, it might be time to consider pet adoption! Adoption is often a great route, providing an aging dog that a young family might not want with a senior who has the patience and time to work with them, and giving the pet a beautiful last few years of life.

Happy National Pet Day!

Verve Senior Living is proud to offer many pet-friendly facilities among our communities — click to watch the vlog!

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