Pets for the Elderly
Senior members of our society experience loneliness and pets can be an excellent way to provide some companionship and boost their morale. Various studies have continually proved that pets help aging adults improve their mental alertness, physical health, self-esteem, social interactions and reduce problems related to loneliness and depression. At the same time, pets need attention and effort on a daily basis from their owners, which is why you need to practice some caution if you are planning to get a pet for your elderly parents.
Do your research
Every breed of animal has a particular temperament and demand different levels of attention and effort from their owners. For instance, a Jack Russel terrier is extremely energetic and athletic, while a Bullmastiff is a reserved, docile companion, even though they are both excellent dogs. Pets that require less exercise and maintenance are always more preferable for elderly people. Small breeds of dogs, such as pugs, are well suited to these requirements as they are excellent companions, eager to please and adaptive to most situations.
Even after you have found a pet with the right temperament, you need to consider many other factors before you make a decision. Think about the life expectancy of the pet, how it may interact with neighbors, other pets or children, the approximate expense and other such considerations.
Involve the elderly in your process
The best way to find a good pet for elderly people is to ask them about it. Remember that it is absolutely okay if they do not want a pet, but if they do, help them gather more information about different breeds and what to expect from them. Also consider adopting full grown, healthy pets as they would be trained to obey basic commands, and they do not demand much time and effort.
Originally published at blog.sagehealthsystems.com on March 3, 2016.