Dogs, cats, rabbits – there’s a whole furry world out there that’s willing and waiting to provide companionship for adults in their senior years. In fact, numerous studies have shown that a pet’s presence can go a long way in calming agitation and remedying any feelings of loneliness.
The prospect of taking on a pet can be daunting, especially a larger animal that requires some form of daily care itself. Thankfully, the animal kingdom is full of pets of all shapes and sizes, with some needing less care than others.
Dan and Stephanie Gregory, the owners of the in-home care provider, Always Best Care, know all about how much of a difference a pet can make to the life of a senior in home care in Wake Forest NC. They’ve spent years providing home care to the local community and have seen how different types of pets can bring happiness to the life of others. That’s why we’ve asked them to come up with three of the best pets for seniors, below.
Perhaps the most affectionate and loyal pet of all, dogs have been known as man’s best friend for thousands of years.
There are, however, several things to take into consideration when deciding whether it is the right pet for a senior. Most larger dogs, for example, require daily exercise, so are only advisable to seniors that are comfortable on their feet. Some species, such as the Alaskan malamute, are known to shed their coat throughout the year, which means you could end up using your vacuum cleaner more often than you’d wish.
While cats aren’t known to be as affectionate as dogs, their ability to live independently can often make them the perfect pet for a senior. Generally, if you’re willing to provide them with food and water and a clean litter box – you’ll get on just fine.
It is also worth noting that not all cats love human affection. In fact, it’s important that you choose one that is well tempered to avoid getting scratched. Seniors often have more fragile skin, meaning that any scratches from your feline friend could quickly come infected.
There’s a reason why goldfish are one of the most popular pets in the United States – they’re incredibly easy to look after. Just buy a large tank with a good filter and voilà! You’ve got a pet that can live off a few flakes a week.
Of course, they’re not going to provide you with the companionship of some larger animals, but with some scenic additions to the tank, can make a fascinating centerpiece for any living room.
If the person you provide care for used to have a pet but is no longer capable of looking after one, then consider introducing a stuffed toy into their life. Many elders that have fond memories of having a pet will respond to the toy as if it was real, bringing them the same sense of comfort.