Anyone who has owned a pet knows how special they can be. For many seniors, animals provide friendship, companionship, and other positive benefits to daily life.
There are many options when it comes to choosing a pet for an older person. The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that an animal must be compatible with a senior’s lifestyle, physical capabilities and living environment.
Let’s take a look at some of the best pets for seniors and the pros and cons of each one.
It is really true that dogs are Man’s best friend. They are loving, loyal, protective and wonderful companions. Dogs are one of the best pets, but they do need to be walked, bathed, groomed, fed, and sometimes require medical attention.
If an older person is physically capable of properly taking care of a dog, they can provide many years of love and devotion. What are the best dogs for seniors? There are many different sizes and breeds to choose from. Some shed a lot and some very little, so it’s important for your loved one to decide what kind of animal would work best for them.
Like dogs, cats are wonderful pets and can provide many years of companionship. Cats tend to be more independent than dogs, so if a senior is looking for a pet that is a bit more autonomous, a cat is a great choice. For older people with mobility issues, cats can be an ideal pet.
However, cats also need to be fed, groomed, taken to the Vet, and have a litter box maintained. Shedding can be an issue with some cats, so a senior needs to know what is involved with various breeds.
For seniors who may not be able to care for a dog or cat, fish can be a great choice for a pet. There are many sizes of fish tanks available, from small to very large. Fish come in many different varieties and colors, so the choice of which types to have is virtually unlimited.
Watching fish swim in a tank is very calming, and can provide a sense of comfort for an older person. The one possible downside to keeping fish is that their tank must be cleaned on a regular schedule to keep them healthy. If a senior is not able to do that themselves, there might be a family member or service that can perform that task for them.
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While certainly not for everyone, another pet option for seniors is a guinea pig. These animals are extremely easy to take care of, and can provide many hours of entertainment. Guinea pigs love to be handled, and only require a small amount of space for their cage and supplies.
Their living area does have to be cleaned on a regular basis, but the process is not physically exerting. Guinea pigs don’t need to be walked or cleaned up after in the yard, so they can be an ideal pet for those with mobility issues.
Birds are another great pet option for seniors. They are very entertaining, and their frenetic energy can have a positive impact on an older person’s living environment.
There is a seemingly endless variety of birds to choose from. Some require very little maintenance, while others require more hands on contact. All bird cages need to be cleaned on a regular basis, but it’s often not an overly taxing activity.
Birds such as canaries sing, while others like parrots can talk. Before choosing a bird for a pet, a senior should clearly understand the animal’s feeding and care requirements, lifespan, and other important factors to ensure compatibility in their home.
Seniors & Pets
For many seniors, having a pet to love and care for is a very rewarding experience that brings joy and companionship to their lives. It is important to consider an animal’s feeding, care, grooming, and medical needs before making any decisions about which kind of animal to get.
Taking these factors into account will help an older person make a pet choice that will be ideal for both them and the animal.
Frontier Senior Living has helped many families find the perfect Senior Living community for their loved one. Many of our senior living communities will even invite you to bring your furry friend to live with you at the community!
We cordially invite you to visit one of our beautiful properties, take a tour, and speak with our friendly and compassionate staff.