This guest post was contributed by Maggie Drag, owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut.
Sometimes there’s no better companion to have by your side than a lovable pet. What’s better is that a pet offers countless benefits for older adults who may live alone, including:
- lowered blood pressure
- enhanced mental focus
Here are some things to consider when deciding on the right pet for you or your loved one.
Choosing a Dog
Every dog has its own personality and sense of purpose. Thanks to centuries of domestic dog breeding and training, certain breeds are predisposed to serving as everything from lap dogs to hunting dogs. So be extra careful when choosing the right breed, especially if you have never owned a dog before.
Granted, not every chihuauha or pitbull is the same, so before adopting, see how the dog interacts with other members of your family. Is he calm and docile throughout the day, or excessively loud and difficult to train?
Adoption Centers, Shelters and Pounds
If you or your loved one are considering adopting an older dog, make sure that you are aware of the dog’s past. Was he a rescue dog that may have been abused?
Many older dogs were given up for adoption by families and older owners who could not care for them anymore.
Again, always be sure that the dog is suitable for you to avoid possibly life-threatening issues in the future.
Get Fit with Your Pet
Daily walks are essential to a dog’s well-being, and it’s a low-impact way for both pet and owner to get exercise!
Before getting a dog, be sure you will have the stamina to care for him/her properly. If you have the space, try fencing in a part of your yard to allow your dog space to roam freely.
Or, Try Adopting a Cat
To take care of any cat, you will need food, water, a litter box, and maybe an occasional visit to a groomer. These are the basics. Cats like their independence and require a lot less energy than a dog.
While some cats are super friendly, some can be moody and have the tendency to scratch (especially when you try to pick them up).
Many kittens are declawed when they are born, which you will be thankful for down the road.
Just like adopting a dog, be cautious when choosing a cat for you or your loved one. Try adopting an older cat in need of a home, well-tempered, and used to being a house cat.
Consider Parakeets and Cockatiels
You wouldn’t believe just how much joy (and not to mention some noise) a small bird like a parakeet or cockatiel can bring to your home. Visit any pet store like Petco where you’ll have a variety of beautiful birds from which to choose. The best part about parakeets? You can teach them to speak and whistle! Buy a proper cage and water bottle for your bird and stock up on bird feed to keep it satisfied.
Remember: Pets Are An Investment
Consider how much you are willing to spend when it comes to choosing a pet. Caring for any animal will require food, vaccinations, grooming costs, and vet visits.
Wow! Very Interesting Article Reading. Thanks
This is an awesome guest post, Michelle! I totally approve of seniors getting a pet because of its health benefits. In my opinion, owning a pet can change your life in a positive way.
I strongly believe that pets can change anyone’s mood in a snap of a finger and has long-term health benefits too. I’ve written something similar and it’s about the benefits of pets to seniors and being a responsible owner to these pets. You can read it here: http://www.altcp.org/elderly-pets-caring-two-way-street/.
I’ve listed benefits of seniors to pet and the top spot belongs to companionship. According to one study, around 36% of care patients are less likely to report loneliness compared to those who are non-pet owners. Another benefit is they encourage an active and engaged lifestyle. Pets also offer protection. Last but no the least, pets help seniors rediscover their sense of purpose.
There’s no doubt that pets are beneficial to seniors. But what pet owners should always keep in mind is to give back what they get from their pets. They should treat them with respect and dignity in order to prolong the harmonious relationship they have and to make the most of the health benefits.
Thanks for the comment, Samantha! Pets definitely bring joy and encourage good health. A win-win!
David A. Waddel
All pets add to your chores. They all need to be fed, vaccinated and taken care of. This means that your first step to choosing a pet would be to search up on pet maintenance and then decide for a pet that requires minimal maintenance. The pet suggestions are useful.
Great point, David. Definitely an important aspect of pet ownership to consider!
If you are caring for an elderly person, then you may be aware of the many benefits that can come from exposing them to the company of companion animals. Retirement communities, residential care home, and nursing care homes have been studying these benefits for years with programs such as the PETPALS activities, and many caretakers have noted success in using a small pet .Fish as a pet is one of the good options.Seeking a stress-relieving pet but without all the fur? Opt for fish. The very act of watching fish swim around a fishbowl or aquarium can reduce stress in older or elderly people.
Great points, Banny. Thanks for the additional insights on the power of pets in elder care!