The Benefits of Pets For Seniors

There are numerous studies about the benefits that pets can have in our lives. And for seniors with pets at home, a furry friend can help make all the difference in the hardships that come with growing older. Some of the benefits:

  •  Lowered Blood Pressure
  • Reduced Stress
  • Increased exercise with certain pets
  • Companionship

What is the Best Pet for Seniors Living at Home?

When it comes to the best pet for older adults, there isn’t going to be one specific pet that suits every situation. You have to take into account the context of a seniors life, their energy levels, their ability to take care of the pet, potential allergies, and even safety.

A look below gives you an insight into the different benefits and lifestyles that different pets can fit with:

Dogs: They are great loyal companions. They aren’t known as man’s best friend for no reason. They are incredibly loving and affectionate. Certain dogs that become services dogs or therapy dogs, have the added benefit of being able to help people. Many people find the addition of a dog a great addition, and current dog owner’s can attest to that. They also present the added health benefit of added physical activity.

Cats: They require bit less care at home than dogs, but are also great companions. They don’t have to go outside, and they often don’t need as much attention to their exercise regimen. Many of them can be left in the home during the day, so long as they have everything they need. So if you are a senior that finds yourself out a lot this could be a good option. Having two little cats at home to keep each other company, and there ready for your companionship when you get home. But, some people do find themselves allergic and don’t want pets to be roaming the house, which is why they can look at some of the animals below.

Less Common Pets for Seniors

Birds: Many people that find themselves allergic to pets like cats and dogs can find great companions in birds. Though they can be noisy. On the other hand, they are small and don’t require too much effort for their care.

Rabbits/Hamsters/Guinea Pigs: These smaller animals can be easier than taking care of a pet like a dog. They still also offer companionship that is a great addition to any seniors household.

Smaller pets remain as exciting and still great companions. They can present less work in pet care. And they can stay in enclosed spaces if need be for much longer periods of time.

What Else Do You Need to Consider Before Getting a Pet for a Senior?

Has the Senior Ever Owned Any Pets?

It can be hard for people to adapt to getting and caring for a pet when they haven’t had one before. In this case, it may be easier to start off with a smaller pet instead of a dog or cat, or even making sure someone is able to help them in the beginning. And you have to be sure that everything about the care of the pet is understood. It can be a lot of work.

Is the Senior Allergic to Any Pets?

You don’t want to bring a pet into a home where someone is allergic. This presents many different issues. There is a lot that can be said about this. It’s just necessary to remember the distinct importance of this in seniors who may already have compromised immune systems.

How Old Should the Pet Be?

It will probably be best to get a slightly older pet that is set in its ways and behavior for any elderly owners. For one, you don’t want to have to have them train any pet or have the potentially rambunctious behavior of any puppy or kitten. The age of the pet can make a big difference in the care overall.

What Happens to the Pets if They Can’t Take Care of them at Home?

In the case that any senior suddenly becomes ill, you need to make sure that the pet doesn’t end up right back in a shelter.

Can the Senior Take Care of the Pet Indefinitely?

Sometimes seniors may need home help with their pets. First the senior needs to consider if they are physically capable of taking care of any pets. If their care requires a lot of walking, like a dog, and the senior has trouble walking, that obviously won’t be a good fit. You also need to consider if they can take care of the pet financially. It’s important to be responsible when you take a pet into your home, and that includes being able to provide quality food, water, and vet care/doctor visits for any pet. Pet ownership comes with responsibility.

Where Should I Find the Perfect Pet?

A quick google search of shelters around you can help you find the perfect pet for any senior, in some cases you can use a website like Petfinder. There are often pictures that include the age and temperament of a pet on the shelter’s website. You can also often book a time to see that pet from the website. You can also find their times of operation and just stop in any time it would be convenient. Adopting a pet not only saves the animal’s life, but it can become one of the greatest sources of joy in a senior’s life. All pet owners can attest to the joy that their pet brings, and the sense of companionship can’t be beat. The benefits of pets for seniors change depending on the type of pet the senior gets and the type of pet that is appropriate for their lifestyle.

Why It Matters

We at Homecare Powered by AUAF are dedicated to making your senior years comfortable. And while we provide in-home care services to help seniors with or without pets, we want to continually find the subjects that matter to senior and the betterment of their lives. We find companionship to be an important part of senior life. There are many steps to battling loneliness in senior life, and companionship of a pet at home can help. While it shouldn’t be the only step, as human companionship is just as important, it can present many great benefits.

If you have any questions about Homecare Powered by AUAF and our services give us a call at 773.274.9262.

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