Benefits of Keeping Pets for Seniors

Depression and anxiety are among the most common problems in middle age and old age. The extent and severity of depression can vary from person to person. However, the highest rates of depression are experienced by people who live their sweet old age alone. Lonely elderly are more likely to develop depression and mental disorders than those who spend this period beside their family members. In this article of Living Maples, we will delve into some of the benefits of keeping pets for seniors.

Keeping pets such as dogs, cats, and various birds is effective, fun, and uplifting. Observations have shown that it has increased life expectancy in old age in many people.

Benefits of keeping pets for seniors

At a young age, a person is in contact with many people and has many social relationships. Most of these relationships are also created through work and social activities. But with increasing age and decreasing social activities, the number of connections between people also decreases over time. For example, retirement is difficult for people who lose most of their relationships.

Aging is a stage in a person’s life in which a person may live alone for a long time, which will be unpleasant for everyone. One of the reasons the elderly are bored, aggressive, withdrawn, and reluctant to eat is the lack of daily activities and social relationships and loneliness. This loneliness brings feelings of dependence, lack of independence, and depression.

Loneliness and old age

When all family members have to work outside the home, how should the elderly reduce their sense of loneliness?

One of the benefits of keeping pets for seniors is having a companion to communicate with. As you know, the lack of communication between the elderly and their impatience leads to loneliness, which leads to symptoms such as aggression, reluctance to eat, inactivity in everyday life, feelings of helplessness, and even pain. But the presence of some animals next to the elderly can be very positive for these loved ones and reduces loneliness.

an elderly woman sitting by her pet

Animals such as dogs, cats, aquarium fish, and birds that talk or sing can change the mood of the elderly and are the best pets for seniors. Because of these animals’ existence, the person has a greater sense of life, responsibility, effort, and activity because they have to take care of the needs of animals such as water, food, and cleanliness.

If the older adult has a dog by his side, he has to take him for a walk every day, play with him and do some physical activity. As a result, he will have a healthier heart than other older people. A healthy heart and blood vessels will help prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Mood improvement is another benefit of keeping pets for seniors. Besides physical benefits, the elderly can expand their social relationships due to being out of the house. It plays an important role in improving their mood.

How old should suitable pets be?

Animals such as dogs and cats, the younger they are, need more care, attention, and play. This amount of attention and care is beyond the patience of the elderly, who cannot take care of them. Young animals are suitable for children and adolescents. It is best to place animals next to the elderly, slightly larger and does not require much attention.

senior woman hugging her dog

A critical point in keeping a pet by the elderly is these animals’ health status. It must be approved by a veterinarian and receive a health certificate.

Animals can carry diseases such as allergies, respiratory, and skin allergies. Having animals that are carriers can be much more dangerous for the elderly, who have a lower immune system. So before bringing the pet, check its health condition.

The best pet for the elderly

Research has shown that the mortality rate of people who keep pets is much lower. But it is crucial to know what animal is suitable for your dear elder?

If the elderly cannot walk easily, we suggest choosing an animal with a calmer temperament. Keeping a cat can be a better choice because they require less mobility and attention.

an elderly woman sitting by her pet on the sofa

For the elderly in charge and need to have an animal that keeps them away from loneliness, we recommend the dog make the elderly spirit happy and lively by creating mobility and play.

Which dog breed should we choose for the elderly?

Dogs have different breeds. Hence, to make the best choice for the elderly companion, it is better to check the other species and find a suitable pet for seniors.

Shih Tzu: Shih Tzu is a gentle and kind dog that grows with love. It is stronger and more durable than it looks. It needs to walk during the day. This group of dogs has less hair loss. They are often quiet and can comfort your elderly.

Pug: Pugs have a great mood. They are easy to clean and, like all dogs, need daily walking.

Chihuahua: Chihuahuas are lively and loyal. These dogs are very alert and can train well. Please don’t choose a young dog of this breed for your elderly because it will be challenging to train.

Final Words

Keeping pets can help keep people physically active and mentally healthy. Furthermore, the pet forces the elderly to do daily activities, strengthening the mood. Pets for seniors also increase concentration and performance and improve motivation and life expectancy in the elderly.

Pet therapy can be an excellent option for the elderly. But before using this method, be sure to consult with your doctor. He may advise you on the suitable type of pet for seniors. However, keeping a pet depends on the mood of the elderly, and some of them may not be willing to have pets.

If your senior has a caregiver, you may be more likely to expect a positive result from pet care. But in this case, you should also ask the caregiver before bringing the pet. However, pet therapy is a method and is not recommended for all the elderly. The caregiver can meet all the needs of the elderly. But having a pet can increase hope and vitality in the elderly.

More Resources:

Source agingcare marketwatch
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Roberto_Carlos
Roberto_Carlos
1 year ago

I believe adopting pets is a beneficial act in our age. because pets are entertaining us and provide funny times for us. also, pets can help us to keep our minds up to date, because we need to pay attention to their requirements, in this way we can remember our pills time and so on.

BeardyRick
BeardyRick
Reply to  Roberto_Carlos
5 months ago

My dog is known as the “little mayor” by her neighbors, and she has many dog friends. It definitely makes you feel like you’re a part of a community.

Ethan
Ethan
Reply to  Roberto_Carlos
5 months ago

I can’t agree more. The past few years have been rough on my mom, and she’s been working overtime for so long I cannot remember the last time she could actually come home before sunset. Sometimes it really gets to her, and I think having our cat, Cookie, around has significantly boosted her mood. Whenever she feels tired of people and life in general, she cuddles and pets the cat. It gives her the inner peace and the energy she needs to get through the rest of the day. Even my grandma, who used to be afraid of cats, started to like them after staying in our house for a month.

Mabel
Mabel
1 year ago

I’ve always loved to have a pet. I like dogs, but I live in a small apartment in Dawson City. I’m always afraid I might not be able to take care of my pets. Every animal has their own needs. I know I should read a lot, and I don’t have much experience. But it would help me a lot if I knew veterans that I could trust and doesn’t cost much.

Isaac
Isaac
1 year ago

As someone who has a dog and took care of his sister’s cat for one month, I must say I don’t really think cats are a better choice. Dogs are sweet and goofy and innocent. Cats look like they just came up from the underworld as the spawns of the devil to take you down with themselves to the land of death. I actually thought I’m not going to make it out alive because the cat was a very convincing undercover murderer.

adam
adam
1 year ago

adopting a pet can be a great idea to escape from the loneliness. however. it doesn’t suit me since I have a severe allergy to dogs and cats’ hairs. 

Liliane
Liliane
Reply to  adam
5 months ago

Bad luck, but as you know, pets are not limited to cats and dogs. There are still many other choices for you if you’re interested in keeping pets, such as varied kinds of birds or fish. So you can just search and see which one is more compatible with you and your lifestyle.

Esme
Esme
5 months ago

Pets are great companies. They have a pure heart, and they give you unconditional love. Abigail was always there for me. In my sadness, happiness and loneliness. I lost her due to a Mast cell tumour. I can not adopt another dog cause no dog can be Abigail for me. Anyway, pets are a blessing. Make sure to stay close to them.

Charlotte
Charlotte
5 months ago

Pets are an incredible source of companionship and love. I don’t think my father would have made it through the loss of my mom had he not gotten himself a small dog for company. But be sure that you will be able to care for a pet properly, including trips to the vet… And, there should be a plan as to who will care for the pet if you leave your house. I have read that animal companionship reduces depression and extends the lives of older folks. I would also recommend an older pet to avoid the hyperactivity of the young rascals.

Ted
Ted
Reply to  Charlotte
5 months ago

I agree with you, Charlotte; my cat saved my life. My mental health has improved significantly. I think pets, especially cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, and encourage you to exercise.
Pets always provide valuable companionship for older adults. For anyone who can not afford to own a pet, volunteering or fostering can have a lot of the same benefits. You can also help animals in need.

Last edited 5 months ago by Ted
Sofia
Sofia
5 months ago

My husband passed away about a year ago, and I’d not be here without Puzzle, my sweet little cat. She saved me, and three years ago, I saved her.

Linda
Linda
4 months ago

I own a puppy. Or maybe she owns me. Anyway, you care for them, and they give you love in return… 
When you pet them and cuddle them, love comes pouring out of you. 
A pet doesn’t question what kind of job you have, how much money you make or if you are fat or skinny…
They just love you because you are you. 
It is truly a beautiful relationship. What if I said you could have somebody who is utterly loyal to you? Someone who, whatever happens, is delighted to see you?
Most pet owners get to know this special love.

Marriah
Marriah
2 months ago

If you’re still unsure about adopting a pet, let me tell you about my own experience. My dad passed away about two years ago. It was so challenging for my mom to deal with her loss. She isn’t that kind of extrovert and outgoing person. She tends to stay at home and make herself busy watching tv. after my dad died, she became even worse and barely even talked to us. It was so hard to make her agree to adopt a dog. The result was unbelievable. Now the dog means everything to her. she laughs more and noticeably is in a better mental state. The dog was a lifesaver to her, and we love him and are so thankful to him!