Many older adults in America keep pets for companionship. A National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed Americans between 50 and 80 years and found that more than half of them owned a pet. Pets can bring many benefits to their owner’s wellbeing, including relieving stress and providing a sense of purpose; 88% of surveyees said that pets helped them enjoy life.
Pets come in all shapes and sizes, from beautiful fish to four-legged furry friends like dogs and cats. What kind of pet you’re planning on introducing to the family is entirely up to your preferences! Here is a quick guide on the best pets for companionship:
Dogs are by far the most popular pets among older adults. A dog will be able to motivate you to take more walks around your local park, encouraging more exercise at the same time.
Whilst it is unlikely that you will have the energy to keep up with an energetic Australian Shepherd or Jack Russell Terrier, there are plenty of mellow breeds for you to choose from. Poodles, French Bulldogs, Corgis, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are good options to consider. These breeds are perfectly-sized; bigger dogs may be too much to handle and you wouldn’t want to accidentally trip over a small dog.
If you would rather not have to walk your pet daily, you may want to consider a house cat instead. Cats are great for an indoor setting and are generally less noisy than dogs. Although they have a reputation for lazing around, do note that your feline companion would need some playtime with you too. A session with the dangling or feather toys should keep them nice and happy.
British Shorthairs, American Wirehairs, and Ragdolls are good picks to choose from.
If you’re looking for a feathered friend instead, why not try a parakeet? These colorful birds are quieter, less likely to nip, and easier to take care of than their larger parrot counterparts. They are delightfully intelligent pets to have around and do well in pairs too. You may consider trimming their flight feathers if you want to keep them outdoors or stop them from flying off to unreachable areas of your home.
It is easy to set up a decently-sized freshwater aquarium – you just need a good filter, some tank decor, and water with the right pH balance. Fish come in all sorts of stunning displays and their graceful movements through the water can be calming to watch. They are also relatively easy to take care of; just be sure to feed them daily and do tank maintenance (change the water out once a week and vacuum the gravel once a month).
Pets are no doubt a great companion for people of all ages. They are easy to have in the home or pet-friendly retirement communities for older adults. You can also consider adopting a senior pet as they tend to be cheaper and easier to raise as compared to young pets. They have less intensive needs and are unlikely to be an unbridled ball of energy, making them a perfectly gentle and affable option.