Pets serve many benefits to seniors. They are wonderful companions and the health benefits are outstanding. Did you know that having senior pet ownership has many medically beneficial qualities? It’s true! Many seniors with pet companion realize these benefits:
1. A reduction in stress and anxiety
2. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
3. Improvement or resistance to heart and cardiovascular disease
4. Great improvement on general health that translates to few medical appointments
5. Fewer feelings of loneliness and a sense of usefulness and responsibility
Overall, a pet can do wonders for a senior. Of course, a pet also means more responsibility – both in care and finances. You want to consider a few aspects of adopting a pet for a senior in your life before you actually do the deed:
1. Never adopt a pet without talking it over with the potential owner. Discuss the possibility of adopting an animal as companionship with your favorite senior.
2. Allow your favorite senior to choose their own pet. What your idea of great companionship in a pet may be far different for an older adult. In addition, meeting a pet before buying can help with meshing the personalities of the older adult and the animal in question.
3. Take the senior’s lifestyle into account. If they are fairly active, a dog that needs walking every day is a great choice. However, if the senior is less mobile, then another pet choice is necessary.
4. Evaluate the older adult’s health to determine what kind of animal might work best as a pet. Large dogs would not work for a senior who is frail or has balance issues.
5. Can the older adult afford the food and veterinary bills? Unless you plan to help financially with this pet companion, you should think about this aspect as well.
6. Also, are you prepared to step in and take the pet should the older adult not be able to any longer?
There are a number of options in terms of pet beyond the choice of cat or dog. Ferrets have been known to be great pets as well as fish, birds, rabbits and even pot-bellied pigs. It is all a matter of personality, physical ability and affordability. Fish, of course, are the cheapest pets because beyond making sure the aquarium is clean, you just have to sprinkle some food in the water daily. There are no vet bills to speak of. If your favorite senior is fun-loving and able-bodied, pot-bellied pigs are hilarious and very smart. The only drawback is that they can grow huge. Ferrets are also fun-loving and inquisitive.
If a cat or dog is in your favorite senior’s future, invite them to accompany you to the local humane society or animal shelter. There are many lovable strays that need good homes. Your senior can choose the option that suits their lifestyle. Sometimes, a mature dog or cat can be the best option as the frisky playfulness of a puppy or kitten is gone and what you are left with is an easy-going companion.
Pet companionship brings great joy to many seniors, especially during the retirement years. Just make sure that your favorite older adult can handle pet ownership first and would appreciate a pet.