Pets are small (often furry) members of the family that can provide an array of benefits to seniors. But seniors must also take special care of their responsibilities as they age, so how do you know which type of pet would be the right choice?
Pets like dogs and cats can be overwhelming for some seniors, but luckily there are easier-to-manage, alternative pet options for seniors that provide them with all the love and advantages a pet provides. Learn about some options here.
Why Pets Are Good for Seniors
People who have pets can receive both mental and physical benefits from the bonding companionship and responsibility involved in pet ownership. Seniors, in particular, could benefit the most from these advantages, which include companionship, improved mobility, enhanced critical thinking skills, as well as improved overall health.
Seniors may begin to feel lonely as they age, which can create depressive mental states. When a senior is unhappy or isolated, they may even experience a decline in overall health. Having a pet gives seniors a friend and lessens their overall loneliness.
Having a pet also keeps seniors moving, since they must be responsible for caring for the pet. It provides them with motivation and a focus that gives them the ambition to stay active. The increased mobility and mood both work together to improve a senior's well-being.
Choosing the Right Pet
When you think of a family pet, you may first think of a cat or dog. But cats and dogs aren't the only animals that make great pets. Each type of pet requires specific care and responsibilities, and as such, some pets may not be suitable for seniors. Cats and dogs, for example, require much more physical work and strain than smaller, alternative options.
It's essential to understand what your senior loved one needs most in a pet and honestly consider what it is they are physically capable of caring for. You should take into account other factors when choosing a pet as well, like allergies/health concerns, time responsibilities (time away from the house), cost of ownership, and more.
Some pets may simply be too much for some seniors, so it is key to choose a pet that matches your loved one's lifestyle. The following pet alternatives may be easier to care for, while still providing a cure for loneliness and immobility.
Alternative Pet Options
Small, fuzzy, and cute, rabbits are usually friendly and can be great companions. They can live to up to 10 years old, are easy to snuggle, and are generally easy to care for. Rabbits take up more room in the home than some others, but have an ideal personality for seniors.
If space is a concern, birds only need a small corner of a room for their cage. Birds can be fun and colorful members of the family. Plus, they are not difficult to care for. There are also a variety of bird types to suit any personality.
3. Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, or Gerbils
Hamsters are the smallest of this rodent group, and guinea pigs are the largest. Though they may be difficult to find if they get loose, these tiny pets are easy for seniors to take care of. They can also be great, easy-to-hold friends.
At Caring Senior Service we are always ready to help seniors and their families by providing professional advice and services. As you consider ways to give support to your aging parents or relatives, consider including us in your plans. Contact our care team today!