It’s no secret that owning a pet can work wonders for a person’s mental health. Pets can also boost physical health by encouraging daily walks and play. For older adults, these benefits can be invaluable in helping them maintain their sense of purpose and fulfillment. But some pets are better at providing companionship than others. Some pets are also more challenging to care for than others. At Elder Care Alliance, we recommend that you do careful research before buying a pet for an older loved one. Here are some of the best pets for seniors.
Cats are delightful pets, often perfect for the general public and senior adults. They are relatively easy to care for and usually aren’t very demanding. Cats are also a reasonable size and don’t get too heavy. Most older adults should have an easy time picking up a cat.
A cat’s sense of independence may not be desirable for everyone. But a cat may be ideal for older people who may not be able to dedicate a lot of time to caring for a pet. A cat may not always come when you call, but they can be very comforting when they cuddle up on your lap for a nap.
For older individuals who have the energy to care for a dog, you won’t come up with a better furry companion. Dogs are very loyal and forgiving animals. They are very good at picking up on mood and can offer comforting kisses and cuddles when you’re feeling down.
Dogs can also help encourage regular physical activity and social interaction. Taking a dog for a walk is a great way to meet neighbors and other seniors. There’s a good reason dogs have earned the nickname “man’s best friend.” They are incredibly loving creatures that can quell loneliness in older adults.
Birds are low-maintenance animals that generally require minimal care. It should be noted, though, that some birds need regular social interaction to stay healthy and happy. Birds can bring a lovely singing voice to the home and be entertaining.
Fish are another low-maintenance pet that can provide entertainment and a sense of purpose. People with mobility issues who can’t play with a cat or walk a dog may do well as fish owners. Many people are surprised to discover that fish can be funny creatures with big personalities. Fish must be fed daily, and their tanks must be cleaned regularly. If older adults feel they can’t handle these needs, they might ask a family member to do it for them.
People with mobility issues or limited space may love owning one or more guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are adorable little creatures that can live comfortably in tiny spaces. To keep a guinea pig happy and healthy, they must be fed regularly and provided with well-cleaned hutches. Guinea pigs also like to play and be groomed.
Consider buying a pet if your older loved one seems to be struggling with loneliness or lack of purpose. You may be surprised to see how quickly pet ownership can improve your loved one’s quality of life.