Getting older is a part of life and can be a wonderful time. If you’re retired, you may find yourself with the freedom to live out a lifelong dream, and some wait until they’re seniors before getting a pet. While pet ownership, like many things, might seem the occupation of the young, nothing could be further from the truth. There are huge benefits of owning pets for seniors, and here are just a few.

Everyone Needs Companionship

A senior man touching noses with his pet cat

Photo by Pietro Schellino on Unsplash

It’s not always easy for seniors to get out and visit their family, or for their family to come over as often as they would like. Life moves fast and we don’t always find the time to see everyone each week. Having a pet around provides wonderful companionship and combats loneliness in seniors.

Loneliness and social isolation are linked to an increased risk of serious illnesses in seniors such as heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and more. Here’s a picture of a silly pug to counterbalance just how sad that fact is.

A silly pet pug puppy looking happy sinking into a soft surface

Photo by Alicja Duchiewicz-Potocka on Unsplash

Pets Create Social Interaction

Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend; they’re everyone’s best friend. Some people can feel awkward engaging a stranger in conversation, but the silent curiosity of a pet can be a great ice breaker. Dogs put people at ease. Cats will explore your neighbour’s home at leisure, as is their right as proud felines.

Pets Have a Calming Effect on Seniors

An elderly man holding a dog warmly

Photo by Magdalena Smolnicka on Unsplash

Pets are great for your mental health. Having a cat that purrs in your lap, a dog who’s always there when you need to see a cute, sunny face, or an aquarium full of fish swimming peacefully back and forth will help to balance your mood and promote calm.

They Help You Exercise

Contrary to popular belief, it’s just as important for seniors to get exercise as it is for the rest of us. Old age doesn’t need to be a time of slowing down or rest. It can be the part of your life when you finally have time to get out and be active. Having a pet dog that needs walking can help a senior owner keep up with light exercise, keeping everyone fit and healthy.

Pets Offer Meaning and Purpose for Seniors

An elderly senior person holding a sleeping puppy like a baby

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

It’s a reality of life that your children grown into adults and no longer need parenting. Adult children may still rely on their senior parents for advice or support, but not in the same way as in their youth. If you’re retired as well, you might find yourself in need of a new meaning or purpose in life. Everyone needs something to get up for each day. Caring for a pet and assuring its needs are met can provide a rewarding purpose for a senior that will only be met with love and gratitude.

They Create a Homey Environment

It can feel like just yesterday the home was full of activity, noise, and energy. A house can start to feel a little empty once the swimmers have grown and left the tank to brave the ocean. Adding a pet to your family can complete your home and make it a place you love to spend time in. This can be especially important for seniors, whose sense of home is often tied to their loved ones rather than the bricks and mortar of the place. For a senior, getting a pet is often a beautiful next chapter.

It’s a Beautiful Connection

Seniors bonding with their pets is a perfect example and reminder to us all that whether we feel like we’re in the winter of our life and perhaps our best times are behind us, that’s just not true. You could meet your best friend at 80 years old and spend the next decade side by side as partners in crime!

A distinguished senior gentleman in Italy looking down at his pet dog showing the lifelong benefits of pets for seniors

Photo by Mandy Henry on Unsplash

Banner photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash