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The Pets for the Elderly Foundation believes that the most serious disease effecting older individuals is not cancer or heart disease — it’s loneliness. But pets can remedy that, offering affection and unconditional love, and helping ease the loss of a loved one.
To help seniors adopt pets, this program will contribute $50 toward an adoption fee. The adopter must be over the age of 60. Cats over 1 year old and dogs over 2 years old are eligible for the discounted fees, which are available at both our main shelter and PetSmart Everyday Adoption Center. You can find location information here. The senior wishing to adopt under this program must be present to sign the adoption papers.
Numerous studies have shown that the companionship of pets is positive for the health of seniors. For example, walking a dog or just caring for a pet can provide exercise and companionship.
People in stress mode get into a “state of disease,” in which harmful chemicals such as cortisol and norepinephrine can negatively affect the immune system, according to Blair Justice, a psychology professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Studies show a link between these chemicals and plaque buildup in arteries, the red flag for heart disease, Justice says. Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine – nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.