We all know that an animal companion comes with many benefits. Those benefits can be felt even more strongly by those who need it! Senior citizens, particularly those living alone, sometimes look for companionship or a reason to take a walk outside every day, and that’s where our beloved furry friends come in.
But we must never forget that every animal has their needs and it’s important to ensure that those will be able to be met as people get older.
Having a dog
Different dogs need different levels of exercise but smaller breeds are often a great choice for older people as they are easier to handle and safer to take walks with. Small dogs also do well in smaller homes and do not require big outdoor spaces to get enough exercise.
A UK study showed that owning a dog motivates older adults to be more active, supporting healthy aging and improving their quality of life.
Having a cat
If an older person no longer enjoys the same level of mobility or strength as during their youth for the daily walks required by a dog, but are still looking for a furry friend to care and love, a cat is a great option!
Cats are typically very independent animals and do not need to be walked or taken outside to use the bathroom. But they’ll still provide boundless love and companionship for anyone living alone!
A Dutch/Swiss review of studies showed that pets provide feelings of being protected and safe for elderly pet owners.
While having a large aquarium requires a lot of work, a small one can be both colourful and fun to have in the home. Small freshwater fish can make good pet options for older people. Once the aquarium is set up to meet the fish needs, the care of a fish is fairly minimal, especially with the use of automated feeders, water filters and testing kits.
A study from Poland suggested that interacting with fish in aquariums has the potential to benefit human well-being.
Having a bird
Birds can make great companions with their beautiful colours and singing abilities. But it’s important to consider a few things before getting one: the size of the cage they need, the food required, the noise level of the bird, and the time and attention each species needs. Since their respiratory systems are delicate, then a bird might not be the right fit for you if you are a smoker. A London study showed that birds can improve people’s mood!