Seniors who either have pets with them or get visits from pets make fewer doctor visits than seniors who don’t. This is especially true for smaller health issues, like nagging colds or minor aches and pains.
Now that it’s firmly established pets can contribute more than just sloppy kisses and furry handshakes, what are seniors’ top picks when it comes to choosing an animal? Dogs are the most popular choice, as man’s best friend offers comfort, stability, dependability, and trustworthiness. But cats are a popular option as well — their independence and self-reliance make them easy animals to care for.
Other top selections for elder pets include birds, bunnies, hamsters and fish—all small animals that are easy to care for and provide a soothing presence that keeps seniors calm and relaxed.
There are a number of organizations, such as The Pets for the Elderly Foundation, which match seniors and animals to maximize the beneficial effects of animals. Also consider contacting your local ASPCA shelter, and specifying that you’re searching on behalf of a senior in need of a companion. Just remember, while your pet will provide you with unconditional love and attention, it also needs those things in return. Before taking in a new animal, you should be sure you can properly care for it.
Written by Jan Bolder, Lead Content Writer for LivingSenior.com