- The Perfect Pair: Senior Citizens & Pets
The Perfect Pair: Senior Citizens & Pets
By: Lia De Lemos
Have you ever thought about the mass amount of joy a pet can bring to someone's life? Many pet owners can agree that coming home to your pet after a stressful day at work is the best feeling in the world. The senior citizen population can especially benefit from an animal's unconditional love.
There are countless amounts of research about the health benefits of owning a pet. As we get older, we are bound to face health issues, physically and mentally. Pets help lower blood pressure, stress, depression, and even cholesterol. In other words, the addition of a furry companion could make all the difference.
As mentioned, new habits must be integrated into one's life when getting a pet. If a senior citizen seems comfortable in their routine, switching it up might be risky or harder to do.
Consider Past Pets
If a senior citizen has owned a pet before, the process of finding a new one is likely to be an easier and smoother process.
Choosing a Cat or Dog
Again, everyone is in different circumstances where some are limited and others aren't. To be frank, cats have less maintenance than dogs. However, it all depends on the person, their environment, and their resources. The process of choosing between a cat or dog is a tedious one and definitely requires more research. Even once you have chosen the species of the pet, there's another process of choosing the right breed. Additionally, pets have different personalities too! Whether it's a sleepy cat or a sociable dog, there are many different pets out there. I recommend talking to the adoption center employees themselves to get a grasp on their lifestyles and determine which one would best work!
Also, if one is considering either one or multiple pets, one is the best choice. More pets ultimately lead to more labor. Even though those two, bonded cats are insanely cute, try to shift your attention to individual pets instead.
Senior citizens with disabilities or impairments are common candidates for getting pets in general. Depending on their condition, a senior citizen would be best paired with a designated service or emotionally trained pet. At the moment, only dogs are legally considered to be service animals. Even so, adopting an ordinary pet is still effective in its own ways. This is just something to consider looking into if you know an eligible candidate!
This next tip is targeted towards any potential pet owner, really. Owning a pet is essentially a long time commitment. Budgets fluctuate with pets, especially with everyone using different brands. Budget plan for your pet like you would for your family expenses! Additionally, looking at what products to get for your pet, focus on the pet's needs, not just the convenience (this the main mistake that many new pet owners make, leading to malnutrition or other health problems)! …
Fun Facts & Numbers!
Even if senior citizens are in the capacity to own a pet, many can still be unconvinced. While it is out of my jurisdiction, I believe matching seniors with pets provides value and happiness. Here are some numbers from 2019 study by the University of Michigan (conducted on 50-80 year old pet owners) to weigh in:
● 79% report a decrease in stress
● 86% say they feel more loved with a pet
● 73% say having a pet provides them with a sense of purpose
● 65% say having a pet connects them with other people● 64% report to be more physically active
Paw-in-hand, Seniors and Pets are the Perfect Pair
For many senior citizens, having a pet can greatly improve the quality of their lives. However, as you probably now know, there comes much more thought when getting a pet for a senior. Even then, the end product makes it absolutely worth it in the end. This blogpost only serves as the tip of the iceberg in your pet pairing journey. There are many comprehensive articles out there on this topic, but I hope this provides you with the foundational knowledge into the process. As someone with 5 pets in the household, my heart is full and I hope for senior citizens to experience the same!
Lia is a first-year student studying Journalism at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and is currently studying remotely in the Bay Area and she enjoys all things cat-related. She has two cats and three dogs living in her household, so you might call her an animal-lover. Lia hopes for her content to be an enjoyable read to