The “Pawsitive” Health Benefits of Owning a Pet for Seniors

The “Pawsitive” Health Benefits of Owning a Pet for Seniors

February 20th is “Love Your Pet Day.” A special day dedicated to showering our pets with extra affection, treats, and attention, recognizing the joy and comfort they bring to our homes. Whether you have a loyal canine companion, a purring feline friend, or any other beloved creature, take this opportunity to express gratitude for the unique bond you share and the profound health benefits they provide.

For older adults, life can become quieter and lonely as the years go by. One way to combat this life change is by owning a pet. The health benefits of owning a pet for seniors far outweigh the work that goes into owning one.

Our furry, feathery, or even scaly family members can provide a variety of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. The bond between seniors and their pets goes far beyond mere companionship. Here are some of the top health benefits of owning a pet for seniors

Reduces Loneliness and Isolation

As they get older, many seniors experience feelings of social isolation and loneliness. This can lead to depression and other significant health problems. Having a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, or even a bird, provides companionship and helps to reduce these feelings of isolation. Pets are loyal and loving, offering unconditional affection that can significantly improve your mental and emotional well-being.

Increases Physical Activity

One of the biggest benefits of owning a pet, particularly an active dog, is that it forces you to be physical. Dogs need to be walked, which in turn encourages regular physical activity on your part. Seniors with dogs are more likely to go for daily walks or play with them in the yard. Even this little bit of physical activity helps maintain mobility, joint flexibility, and cardiovascular health. In addition, physical activity of any kind leads to a stronger immune system and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Lowers Stress and Anxiety

Simply looking at a picture of a little puppy or kitten is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Studies show that petting a dog or cat can trigger the release of the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. It also increases the “feel good” hormone dopamine while decreasing the level of the stress hormone cortisol. This fluctuation helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, a pet’s rhythmic, soothing presence can help lower blood pressure, contributing to overall cardiovascular health.

Boosts Mental Alertness

Interacting with pets can stimulate mental alertness and cognitive function. While training your pet and teaching them tricks helps to boost their mental capacity, it also helps to maintain your mental acuity. This mental stimulation can delay the onset of cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fosters a Sense of Purpose

Most of us work hard and look forward to the day we can finally hang up our work boots and retire. However, when that day finally comes, many seniors often experience a diminished sense of purpose. Owning a pet can give you back a sense of responsibility and purpose. Caring for a pet requires routine tasks like feeding, grooming, and exercise, providing structure to your days and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Enhances Social Connections

A study has shown pet owners are more apt to meet their neighbors than non-pet owners. Pets make great icebreakers for seniors when they are out on walks or at pet-friendly facilities. This can give you an opportunity to connect with others and strike up a conversation.

Reduces the Risk of Allergies and Asthma

Although it sounds like it would be the opposite, having a pet has been found to reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma the older we get. This can be an added health benefit for seniors who have had pets throughout their lives.

Get Your “Purrfect” Companion

Owning a pet can do wonders for your health and well-being. These little bundles of joy enrich seniors’ lives in ways that extend far beyond companionship. The emotional, physical, and mental health benefits of having a pet cannot be argued or overlooked. Seniors who share their lives with a furry friend often experience reduced stress, increased physical activity, enhanced emotional well-being, and a greater sense of purpose.

If you’re a senior considering pet ownership, choosing an animal that matches your lifestyle and needs is important. If you’re unable to walk or aren’t terribly mobile, a dog might not be the best choice for you. You should talk to your healthcare provider and discuss your ability to own a pet. With the right pet choice and proper care, you could reap the many health benefits of owning a pet for seniors while making lasting and unforgettable memories.

Boost Your Blood Flow: Foods that Improve Circulation

Boost Your Blood Flow: Foods that Improve Circulation

Good circulation is vital for maintaining overall health and well-being. It ensures that oxygen and essential nutrients are efficiently delivered to every part of your body while removing waste and carbon dioxide. Poor circulation can lead to a host of health problems, including cold extremities, fatigue, and even serious conditions like peripheral artery disease. Luckily, you can enhance your blood flow naturally by incorporating specific foods into your diet. Here are some of the top foods that can help improve circulation and overall cardiovascular health.


Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols. These compounds help to relax blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow throughout the body. Additionally, the high vitamin C content in berries promotes healthy blood vessel function. You can easily include berries in your diet by adding them to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. Also, frozen berries make for a great low-calorie, low-fat snack when you’re craving something a little sweet.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels. They can also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots. Aim to consume fatty fish at least twice a week to benefit from their circulatory benefits.

Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are packed with vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help regulate blood pressure and maintain the health of the arteries. The nitrates in leafy greens can also dilate blood vessels, enhancing circulation. Incorporate them into salads, soups, smoothies, or as a side dish.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are high in vitamin C and flavonoids. These compounds can strengthen capillary walls and enhance the overall health of your circulatory system. A glass of fresh citrus juice or a piece of fruit makes for an excellent snack or addition to your meals.


Garlic is known for its numerous health benefits, including its ability to improve circulation. It contains allicin, a natural compound that helps relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Fresh garlic is the most potent form, but you can also take garlic supplements if the odor is a concern.


Beets are rich in nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels and promotes blood flow. Consuming beets can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. You can eat them roasted, in salads, or even drink beetroot juice. You can buy them fresh or in a can for easy consumption. They also come pickled.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are high in healthy fats, including omega-3s, fiber, and antioxidants. These components can help reduce inflammation and support heart health. Additionally, they contain arginine, an amino acid that helps dilate blood vessels and improve circulation.


Turmeric is a spice renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, can enhance blood vessel function, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation. Incorporate turmeric into your diet by adding it to curries, soups, or making a turmeric tea. You can also find turmeric in a supplement form.

Eat for Circulation

A diet rich in foods that improve circulation is essential for maintaining overall health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues. By including the above foods in your meals, you can naturally enhance your blood flow and support a healthy circulatory system. Remember that maintaining a balanced diet, along with regular physical activity and other healthy lifestyle choices, is key to achieving optimal circulation and long-term well-being.

Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s?

5 Healthy Habits That May Help.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia affecting more than 6 million Americans of all ages. It’s a progressive brain disease that causes a decline in memory, reasoning, and thinking skills.

Alzheimer’s symptoms can begin with simple forgetfulness and eventually lead to severe cognitive issues making it difficult to carry out daily activities. Many Alzheimer’s patients also experience mood and behavior changes, disorientation, and difficulty talking, swallowing, and walking.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death among Americans age 65 and older. It’s estimated that one in nine people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s.

Lifestyle Habits To Protect Your Brain

There is currently no cure for this debilitating disease. However, research has shown that adopting key healthy lifestyle habits can help to prevent Alzheimer’s or help to slow down pending cognitive decline. Establish these habits to help keep your brain sharp and healthy.

Eat A Balanced Diet

For years, studies have suggested that what we eat affects our brain. Certain foods can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation – two of the main culprits of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, along with lean protein – particularly protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids – may help improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s. This type of diet is often referred to as the Mediterranean diet and is known for improving cardiovascular health and lowering high cholesterol.

Get Physical

We all know that physical exercise is good for your overall health, but it is crucial to brain health. It actually helps increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Exercise also elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to your body and brain. Proper blood flow ensures that your brain is receiving its much-needed oxygen and nutrients in order to function. The World Health Organization recommends that older adults participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. This can include walking, swimming, or cycling.

Be Social

Staying socially engaged with others is an essential factor for a healthy and balanced life. It not only improves your mental health, but it can help stimulate your brain as well. Studies show that people who suffer from loneliness have less cognitive function.

A great way to be social is by being active in your community or volunteering. Exercise classes are also a great way to develop a social network. Activities such as dancing get your heart rate up, allow you to meet new people, and strengthen your brain because they require mental focus to learn steps and routines.

Quit Smoking

Smoking doesn’t do you or your body any favors. It not only increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, and other health conditions, it also negatively impacts your brain. This dangerous habit has been found to literally shrink your brain.

Of course, not everyone who smokes will get Alzheimer’s; however, several studies show a correlation between smoking and dementia. Smoking deprives the brain of oxygen while also causing oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. Smoking is one habit you definitely want to break.

Get Enough Sleep

Just as the rest of your body needs sleep, so does your brain. However, when you’re asleep, your brain is still very much active. Your nighttime slumber allows your brain to cleanse and wash away toxins and waste that have formed throughout the day.

When you’re in a deep sleep, your body temperature drops, and the brain begins to produce slow, rhythmic electrical waves. It’s during this stage of sleep that the brain can reduce the accumulation of precursor proteins known as beta-amyloid and tau, two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s.

Try to get at least seven to eight hours of rest nightly. Establish a good sleep schedule and nightly routine that promotes a healthy sleeping environment. Quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to sleep.

Improve Your Lifestyle Improve Your Brain

Even though there’s still a lot to learn on whether or not we can prevent Alzheimer’s, there are still many measures you can take to reduce your risk factors of developing it. Living a healthy lifestyle and making good choices is always a good idea, and it is never too late to start.

For more information on Alzheimer’s or disease prevention, contact a SaludVIP provider near you!

Hydration In Older Adults – Why It’s Important

Hydration In Older Adults – Why It’s Important

Water is essential for almost every bodily function, from controlling our body temperature to pumping blood to our heart. Hydration is essential at every age, but it becomes more of a concern the older we get. Hydration in older adults is vital for several reasons. As we age, our sense of thirst begins to diminish. Unless we become mindful of our fluid intake, we risk becoming dehydrated.

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is when we lose more fluids than we consume. There is the misconception that we’re only dehydrated when we’re thirsty. Unfortunately, thirst is not always an indicator that you’re dehydrated and need to take a drink. There are several other signs that can warn you that you need to take action and hydrate.

The most common symptoms of dehydration in older adults include:

  • Dark-colored urine, urinating less frequently
  • Fatigue, or feeling weak
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps in arms or legs
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Confusion, decreased cognitive function

How Much Water Do You Need To Stay Hydrated?

The best way to prevent dehydration is to simply drink more throughout the day. How much more? According to the American Heart Association, the amount of water each person needs can vary. It depends on several factors, including climatic conditions, clothing worn, and exercise intensity and duration.

In general, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest that each day women get a total of about 2.7 liters (L), or 11 cups, of fluid and men get about 3.7 L (16 cups). It’s best to discuss your fluid intake with your doctor. They can review your medical history and conditions and then determine your specific needs. Not all fluid has to be water, however. Your morning coffee counts toward your fluid consumption for the day.

Why Is Hydration So Important In Older Adults?

As previously mentioned, seniors lose their proper sense of thirst the older they get making hydration in older adults sometimes a challenge. This not only leads to dehydration but can lead to a host of other complications.

  1. Kidney Function – Extreme dehydration for an extended period of time can cause severe damage to the kidneys. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste from the blood via urine. In addition, the kidneys help manage the balance of electrolytes and salts in the blood. When the renal system is compromised or shuts down, toxins begin to build up in the blood. Electrolytes and fluid also build up in the body, causing swelling. Severe renal failure results in severe illness or even death.
  2. Urinary Incontinence – It may sound counterintuitive to drink more when you cannot control your bladder. Many seniors actually avoid drinking in an attempt to prevent these embarrassing moments. However, dehydration only compounds the problem even more. A reduction in fluids can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTI is one of the most commonly diagnosed infections in older adults. When left untreated, UTIs in older adults can cause serious complications, including kidney damage and sepsis. If you suffer from urinary incontinence, it may be embarrassing, but it is vital that you stay well hydrated. You should consult your doctor for possible treatment methods for your incontinence.
  3. Digestion – Hydration is a key component to keeping your internal pipes flowing properly and regularly. Dehydration often results in constipation, in addition to gastritis, acid reflux, and in some cases, ulcers. Drinking water helps produce digestive acid that, in turn, helps your body break down food. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it’s unable to absorb the proper amount of nutrients from your food.
  4. Brain Function – Our brains are made up of 80 percent water. When we become dehydrated, even the tiniest bit, our brain has difficulty functioning, often leaving us confused and forgetful. Furthermore, prolonged dehydration in older adults causes brain cells to actually shrink. This has been linked to a symptom of the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

How To Stay Hydrated

It may seem like an easy fix – drink more water – but staying hydrated isn’t always the easiest, especially if you are constantly on the go. Here are some simple steps to help keep you properly hydrated.

Carry water with you, always. If you always have water on you, it makes it easy to take a sip here and there. Carry a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go. If you spend most of your time at home, have a water pitcher nearby that you use and can keep track of your fluid intake.

Eat foods with a high water content. If you find it difficult to drink fluids on a regular basis, try adding some foods to your diet that are high in water. Fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, and celery, are great for snacking on and will also help increase your water intake. Soups and broths are also another great way to increase your fluid intake.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake. Alcohol is the number one way to strip your body of hydration. It’s a diuretic, which causes you to urinate more frequently, eliminating valuable fluids. Alcohol also depletes your body of the necessary electrolytes and minerals it so desperately needs to function.

Hydrate For Better Health

Hydration in older adults is important for a number of reasons, including optimum health. Our entire body, even our brains, needs water to function. We might find it annoying having to run to the bathroom several times a day, but that is a small price we must pay for Better Health. So, pour yourself a glass of water and drink up!

A Healthy Brain: 8 Tips To Staying Mentally Fit As You Age

A Healthy Brain: 8 Tips To Staying Mentally Fit As You Age

All your life, you’ve heard that you should exercise regularly to stay healthy, but you don’t hear much about staying mentally fit. When we’re younger, such a task isn’t so hard. But as you age, that starts to change. It’s never too late to start living a healthier life.

These tips are designed to help you stay mentally fit as you age:

1. Read More

Look, you’re doing that right now. Reading keeps the mind sharp. In fact, the scientific journal Neurology reported that reading and writing more in your later years resulted in a 32% decrease in the likelihood of memory loss and cognitive decline.

2. Feed Your Brain

A healthy diet is one of the most pivotal factors in staying mentally fit. Reducing dairy and red meat consumption has been shown to improve your overall health and your brain health. Eat a diet filled with whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, vegetables, and fruit.

3. Get Moving

You knew this was coming. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean exercise goes out the window. In fact, it’s more important than ever.

Want to know an interesting fact? The simple act of walking sends shockwaves up from the foot, stimulating your arteries. This gets more blood to your brain and therefore more oxygen. This results in a healthier brain.

4. Touch Your Toes

Just like walking helps with increased cerebral circulation (that’s the flow of blood to your brain), so does stretching. Why? Because as we age, our circulation isn’t what it used to be. With all that walking you’re about to do, you should make sure you’re in the best shape to do that.

5. Get Social

Loneliness can truly hamper someone’s brain health. Cambridge conducted an interesting study where they followed seniors for over a decade and found that those with a busy social life had a 70% lower cognitive decline.

6. Listen To Music

Music has been shown to improve the mind. You hear a song and it can transport you back in time, bring about a memory you had forgotten all about. There is a strong tie between our relationship to music and our memory.

7. Learn A New Language

You might be questioning this one. Why learn a new language if you might never get to visit the country of origin for language? Learning a new language trains the brain to think more quickly, fine-tuning your processing skills.

8. Find A New Hobby

If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. It’s true. We have to constantly exercise our minds. One way to do that is to start a new hobby. Our hobbies tend to shift as we get older. We find ourselves having to branch out and do things we might not have done when we were younger.

Prevents Kidney Diseases

Prevents Kidney Diseases

Your kidneys are critical for achieving Better Health. Every 30 minutes, your kidneys filter all the blood in your body. They remove waste, toxins, and excess fluid. Most people have two kidneys, but you can live with one (or less).

Prevents kidney diseases
Prevents kidney diseases

5 Ways to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

Drink plenty of fluids (64 ounces of water daily) to help flush your kidneys.

Don’t smoke. Smoking slows blood flow to your kidneys, which can reduce their function.

Eat healthy, low-fat foods and exercise to reduce your risk of high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

Limit the use of over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen and naproxen, as these drugs can harm your kidneys.

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, be sure to have your kidney function monitored regularly.

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