Hint: It’s not what you think.
Getting older can be tough for many reasons. New health concerns crop up. You may experience changes in mobility and transition out of your job or career. These changes can be very lonely and isolating. However, one source of comfort is constant: an animal companion.
There are numerous benefits to cohabiting with a furry friend. Pets have been shown to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. Additionally, simple activities like going outside to walk a dog around the block can help you be more active and social. A pet can also positively impact feelings of depression and loneliness. In some cases, they help with memory recall.
Adopting a pet doesn’t just benefit seniors—it benefits the animals, too. This is especially true because retirees have more time to care for a pet and form a lasting bond. There are a few questions to consider before adopting a pet, though, such as:
- How well do you adapt to change?
- How much care will the animal need? Is it healthy?
- Have you ever had a pet before?
- Are you prepared for a long-term financial commitment?
- What age pet should you get? What temperament would fit with your lifestyle?
- Where are you looking to adopt from?
The answer to each of these questions will be different for every senior. For example, any pet will significantly change your routine—most animals (especially cats) operate on their own schedule. If you have limited mobility, a cat may be better than a dog that needs frequent exercise. And younger pets often require more patience and training than older animals.
If you’re interested in adopting a furry friend, there are many sites such as Petfinder that can help you locate shelters in your area. Shelters usually have a wide variety of animals at different ages and with different personalities, so you’ll likely be able to find the perfect match and embrace the joy of having a pet.