The senior years can be a very lonely and confusing time for some people. Everything in your life is changing and you may not have the same amount of company that you once did.
Animals can be an excellent way to fill that void. Most older people find great comfort in having an animal around to keep them company and in some cases, protect them. Animals can provide years of comfort and company to a senior but it is essential that you find the right one. The following guide will lay out a few things you should consider and a range of animals that make for excellent pets.
Things to consider
Noise: A lot of senior people appreciate peace and quiet and not every animal is going to be able to provide that. It is important then, that you choose a pet that is going to keep the noise levels to a minimum and cause little to no fuss. This will be even more important if you are spending the majority of your time in a care facility or residential home.
Expense: Living off a pension means that you may not have access to the funds that you once did and you will want to make sure you take that into account before choosing a pet. Some animals are likely to cost more than others in the long-run, as you will have to pay for things like food, equipment, and medical expenses.
Temperament: Older people are looking for love and affection from an animal so you will want to make sure that you find one that is willing to give that to them. If you are buying a puppy, you should check what his family background is and whether or not he is likely to be playful or aggressive as he gets older.
Space: When they retire, a lot of seniors tend to downsize or move into a residential home. You will want to make sure that the pet that you choose is going to have enough space in the living environment you are in. You should also take into consideration the fact that you may choose to downsize in the future.
As the old adage goes, dogs are a man’s best friend. Dogs make for excellent companions for people of all ages and can be especially comforting to those in their senior years.
Dogs are incredibly loyal and loving and can provide hours of companionship to an elderly person. If you are mobile, they can also be an excellent way to get you out and about. Walking a dog can be an excellent activity for a senior, though, it is important to remember to make sure you have a suitable phone for seniors with you so that you can contact someone if you need help.
Of course, you will want to make sure that you have chosen the correct breed of dog. Most seniors would prefer to have a smaller and more manageable dog so breeds like Shih Tzu, Pugs, Poodles or Chihuahua are going to be more suitable. You will also want to make sure the dog has a good temperament, especially if it is in shared accommodation.
Not only are cats incredibly loving and friendly, but they are also fiercely independent, which makes them an ideal pet for a senior.
Unlike dogs, cats don’t require anybody to walk them or to look after them too much, making them the perfect pet for less mobile seniors. They are also a lot quieter than dogs and are not as likely to be so protective around other people.
Cats are the ideal pet for seniors living in a residential home as they are likely to share their love with all of the other residents and can quickly begin to feel like a community-owned pet.
Low-maintenance and friendly animals are ideal for seniors and rabbits tick both of those boxes. Aside from being beautiful little creatures to look at, rabbits are also great to play with and their gentle manner means that they are never going to cause any harm to a senior or to their relatives.
They are also very easy to look after and can often be kept in a cage in a room with a senior. They do also enjoy being let out to play outside and this can be a great way to help a senior go outside and play.
On top of all of this, children also find rabbits absolutely fascinating, which means they can be an ideal way of building a relationship with the grandchildren whenever they come over to visit.
There are few animals as easy to look after as fish. All that fish require in terms of care is being fed and occasionally having their water changed, making them an ideal pet for seniors to have in their homes.
Fish can also be incredibly stimulating for seniors. They are very colorful animals and there is also the option of customizing and adding accessories to their tanks. This can become an excellent hobby for seniors and a great one to share with their grandchildren.
Birds are incredibly beautiful animals that can come in all sorts of shapes and colors. Birds like parakeets or budgerigars are excellent animals to have around the house and some of them may even be able to get out of the cage and fly around.
Like several of the other animals on this list, they are also brilliant pets to have when the grandchildren visit as their exploits are often incredibly fascinating for them.
Insects or Creepy-Crawlies
Depending on how squirmish you are, insects can make for excellent, low-maintenance pets for seniors.
Insects, especially animals like snails or spiders, require very little care at all. They take up next to no space, their food is inexpensive and they make zero noise.
Of course, owning certain animals may turn out to be a sure-fire way to scare away some people but they can also be fascinating for children to look at and play with. They may not be the most conventional choice but insects and creepy-crawlies can be brilliant companions for seniors.