Ever consider that healthy aging is dependent on what you do in your free time? Although there are many things that can minimize degeneration, did you know that just owning a pet could help?
The simple act of stroking a pet everyday lowers blood pressure and actually decreases your chances of ever having a stroke! By investing in a pet, you’ll live longer and have better general health. There is a strong association between loving a pet and longevity!
In loving memory of my George cat, (my heart and soul), who sadly left this earth in August of 2010. May he always know how much his mommy loves him. May he forever rest in peace.
No matter what your living accommodations are, there's always some type of pet you can have. From Guinea pigs to Saint Bernard's, there's a pet just the right size for most dwellings. All of them help break the monotony of everyday life and all of them are capable of giving and receiving love.
Of course, having a pet is not an option for everyone. Many people have obstacles that prevent them from becoming an animal owner.
Obstacles to Pet Ownership
1) You Can't Afford Them! - Pets are NOT as expensive as you might think. If you adopt a pet from the Humane Society in your area, they will provide vaccines and neutering at an extremely low cost. Smaller pets don’t eat that much so be sure to keep that in mind! (Cats or small dogs.) Yearly shots run around $100 which is $8.30/month. Think of it this way. What you get back for some basic costs is far reaching. The health aging benefits are huge when compared to the cost.
I'm a single mom with a 25 year old son living at home but I don’t get rid of him just because he costs me money! I have a house full of rescued animals too! Sometimes I feel like I can’t afford them all but somehow the money is always magically there when I need it.
2) You Don’t Like Them - How can you not love something that wags it's tail or purr's when you stroke it's fur. Pets are non-judge-mental, always happy to see you, and never ask stupid questions!
Having an animal that stays by your side and talks to you in their own special way is one of the best feelings in the world. A pet loves you no matter how much you neglect them! (Although animal abuse is unforgivable so don't go there!)
What's not to like?
3) You Have Allergies! - Let me just say this. I am allergic to cats but I have five of them. They were all rescued and they have all helped me get through some of the most difficult times in my life. As I've advanced in age over the years, I've realized that anti aging isn't nearly as important as healthy aging.
Sure I sneeze and cough sometimes but I keep my house pretty well clear of pet dander. If you run your vacuum cleaner once or twice a week, that will just about do the trick!
Also, there are a ton of allergy medicines out there that will help you when your symptoms become problematic. Products like Claritin Reditabs and AllerClear can offer you almost instant relief.
You can also keep some pets outside and not have to keep them in the house. Just be sure they have a shelter or fenced in area. So you see, you can still enjoy all sorts of critters, even if you're allergic to them.
There's no doubt that pets are good for your health and should be included as an integral part of healthy aging. Most people consider their pets to be just like family members. Unlike other relationships with family and friends, (which can often be a source of major stress), pet owners can significantly improve overall health and reduce risks of disease.
My Ruffy boy found his way over the Rainbow Bridge in May of 2014. He was the best friend I've ever had and I will always miss him!
The Healthy Aging Benefits of Pets!
Pets help ward off depression, decrease anxiety, improve survival rate after a heart attack, lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and have improved psychological, physiological, and social effects on those suffering from Alzheimer's and HIV/AIDS.
For nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets appears to provide various healthy aging benefits. Heart attack patients living with pet companions survive longer than those living without one, according to several recent studies. Male pet owners have lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels than non-owners, according to Australian researchers.
Pets can be a great source of comfort and joy for all ages. They are cute and cuddly and provide us with those ‘warm fuzzies’ that keep you feeling good inside. Pets often provide you with ‘someone to talk to’ and ‘pay attention to’ when no one else is around. They keep you from being as lonely and give you a sense of purpose that may not have existed before.
Many parents who suffer from the ‘empty nest syndrome’ might benefit from having an animal to ‘fill the void’ as they lose their children to college, marriage, and beyond.
Walking a dog or just caring for a pet, for those who are able, can provide exercise and companionship; both of which are important aspects of healthy aging. In fact some insurance companies asks clients over the age of 75 if they have a pet as part of their medical screening. Pet ownership often helps older clients looking for life or long-term care insurance, get the insurance they need.
Why do they provide such great physiological and social benefits? According to researchers, the answer is not clear.
There are lots of theories but they don’t understand exactly why pets lower blood pressure. It is suspected that having a friend by your side that you can always count on "psychologically creates a beneficial barrier and atmosphere".
Having a loving relationship with an animal is one of the best healthy aging benefits you can easily do for yourself.
We've all heard it. What comes around, goes around! When you feed and love an animal friend, you get back far more than you have to give. Animals love you unconditionally and are blessings that are packaged and ready to love you back.
When you have a pet around, its easy to take the focus off of your own problems by giving attention to your pet. Not only does petting an animal help you calm down, it also helps you think more clearly about your challenges in life. Since animals have fairly simple minds, they won't get distracted from you however! Their focus is always clear and concise; to please it's owner!
Here's the thing:
Pets need homes! We have homes!
Lets participate in the fight to keep animals out of shelters and get back what we are dearly starved for most in this day and time. We all need unconditional love and pets can provide that!
If owning a pet is part of healthy aging, then lets get healthy together! If you'd like to know more about pet safety, I suggest you check out this resource.
A simple relationship and kind understanding between a man/woman and his/her pet is worth all the money we could ever have!
When a Pet Dies
I recently lost a stray cat that 'found me'. I had been taking care of him for almost a year. He suddenly disappeared and I looked and looked for him. I found him a few days later, disoriented and not able to walk well. He had gotten into something that wasn't good for him somewhere. I may never know what happened to him but this is what I do know.
When any pet dies, it will break your heart. So why put yourself through that?
My friends suggested to me that he was lucky to have found the 'right home' and such a warm, loving mom. However, I know that I was the lucky one. His name was 'Come On' and he wrote love notes on my heart. To have loved and lost is far better than to have to never have loved at all! The precious time we have with our fuzzy friends is time that has no boundaries and gives you happiness that can't be described by words alone.
They will laugh when you laugh, and they comfort you when you cry. They will forgive you when you are late feeding them, and appreciate the time you spend with them more than you can know. They are loyal and true friends!
It is not just the warm feelings you get when you rub them and love them. It goes much deeper than that. They come to know your quirks and moods and adjust their manners accordingly. You just know they appreciate you all the time! How many people can you honestly say appreciate you for just being you? Pet owners are far better people to have had a mutual loving relationship with one of God's creatures. God also rewards you for helping take care of them!
I decided to immortalize the love I felt for my stray cat with a video. Although I didn't intend it to, it turned into kinda a memorial for him. Its about a girl and a cat who loved each other. Simple as that.
*Side Note - If you simply can't commit to having a pet around, consider a plant or flowerbed. Beauty is also a healthy aging generator and taking care of something else besides YOU, creates beneficial warmth and joy of all kinds!