STUDY: Pets provide benefits to seniors, reduces feeling of isol - FOX34 Lubbock

STUDY: Pets provide benefits to seniors, reduces feeling of isolation

LUBBOCK, Texas -

Research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care shows pets can reduce the feeling of loneliness in older adults. Nearly half of seniors say they experience isolation. 

After losing her husband, Joy Sparks decided to get a companion. Cookie has been by her side ever since. 

"The unconditional love that a dog gives is just huge. The comfort, the companionship are very valuable to seniors," Tracy Baugh, Home Instead Franchise Owner, said. 

Cookie is no exception. Sparks said she can't imagine life without her. 

"People are nice, and they bring, and they care. They want to do something for you, but a dog comes and says I'm here, I'll take care of you, you know," she said.

Sparks spent six months recovering after a fall that broke her hip. She said Cookie was her motivation. 

"I got out of Carillon as fast as I could so I could come back here and take care of her," she said. 

Baugh said pets can give seniors a feeling of purpose, while also improving their physical health. 

"Reduce blood pressure, a reduction in anxiety and depression, and improvement in health such as activity and mobility is enhanced when a pet is around," she said. 

She added while pet ownership isn't for everyone, simple interactions can have a huge impact. 

"Maybe they're living in a place where they're not able to have pets," she said. "Therapy dogs are huge for any age, but especially seniors love that tactical stimulation of petting a dog and it just elevates everyone's mood to have an animal around."

To determine is a pet is a right fit, Home Instead provides free resources to help incorporate animals into senior's lives. 

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