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Pets, both real and fake, relieve stress in seniors

July 8, 2014

Pets promote healthy aging, provide constant entertainment and bring happiness to people of all ages – and now there's science to back it up. Recent studies have proven the effectiveness of pet therapy and provide medical reasons why you really should get that doggie in the window. Interacting with animals, whether that involves playing with a dog or petting a cat, is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce levels of stress.

Man's best friend
According to a study from Applied Developmental Science, interacting with the furry creatures promotes a positive social circle. It was determined that those who have strong bonds with their pets mirror that sentiment with people in their community. And that's not the first time something like this has been concluded. Other studies, like one from WALTHAM, show that pet owners report experiencing less stress than their pet-less peers and also recover more quickly from stress. The psychological and physical effects of pets on seniors are overwhelmingly positive.

An alternative to real pets
And the benefits don't end with real, live animals. Meet PARO, the therapeutic robot that offers similar results to people whose allergies or living situations won't allow actual pets. Some may even just prefer the uniqueness of the device. For the past 11 years, PARO has evolved in design, and is now better than ever. DigInfo reported on the positive effects of him on other groups and even offered a video of him in action. They went on to report that, in patients who suffer from dementia, PARO almost immediately calmed the sometimes aggressive symptoms of the disorder. This helps avoid the need for drugs and other therapies that may be too costly, either on the wallets or well-being of those affected.

Whether or not you're an animal lover yourself, one thing can't be denied: pets provide people with reduced stress, entertainment and a loyal friend.