Best Pets for Seniors

And the Benefits of Owning a Pet in Your Golden Years

The Best Pets for Seniors

Pets are more than just cute and cuddly companions. They offer real health benefits, especially during the golden years. Research has shown that owning a pet can provide a sense of purpose and boost self-esteem. Plus, pets offer unconditional love and affection and provide companionship. 

The playful antics of dogs and cats can divert attention away from aches and pains, and can even decrease depression. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to decrease anxiety levels in aging adults and even those with Alzheimer's. 

Pets encourage seniors to stay active and can also open the door for human interaction, helping some seniors to make new friends.

The Health Benefits of Having a Pet As An Older Adult

In recent years, the health benefits of pet ownership for elderly individuals have gained significant attention. 

Beyond their undeniable cuteness and cuddliness, pets offer a multitude of advantages that can greatly enhance the lives of seniors. 

From providing companionship and reducing feelings of loneliness to promoting physical activity and improving mental well-being, the positive impact of owning a pet on the elderly population is backed by scientific research. Studies have found that elderly people who own pets visit doctors 16% less often than those without pets when faced with stressful situations. 

Pet ownership has also been linked to a greater survival rate for those with severe coronary artery disease during the first year after hospital discharge. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also associated with pet ownership, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Four-legged friends can soothe the symptoms Alzheimer’s and dementia patients experience. Highgate Senior Living is among a small percentage of senior living providers offering a pet-friendly community.
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Best Pets for Senior Citizens

The best pets for seniors can vary depending on individual preferences, lifestyle, and capabilities. However, here are some popular options that are often well-suited for seniors:

  1. Dogs: Small to medium-sized breeds that are known for their calm temperament and low exercise needs, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bichon Frises, or Shih Tzus, can be great companions for seniors.

  2. Cats: Cats are generally low-maintenance pets that can provide comfort and companionship. Older cats or breeds known for their relaxed and affectionate nature, like Ragdolls or Persians, may be a good fit for seniors.

  3. Birds: Small birds like budgies or cockatiels can be entertaining and require minimal space and care. They can provide companionship and enjoyment with their chirping and playful behavior.

  4. Fish: Keeping an aquarium can be a soothing and visually appealing hobby for seniors. Watching colorful fish swim can provide relaxation and a sense of tranquility.

  5. Small Mammals: Guinea pigs, rabbits, or hamsters can make great pets for seniors who prefer smaller animals. They are relatively low-maintenance and can provide companionship and entertainment.

Ultimately, the best pet for a senior citizen depends on personal preferences, abilities, and living situation. It's important to consider factors such as the level of care required, exercise needs, and compatibility with any existing health conditions. Adopting an older pet from a shelter or rescue organization can be a wonderful option, as they often have calmer temperaments and are in need of loving homes.

About Highgate Senior Living

At Highgate Senior Living, we encourage our residents to own pets or socialize with others who do. We believe that if a dog or cat can help our residents live longer, happier, and healthier lives, it's worth it. 

Pet-Friendly Assisted Living