Studies have shown that pet owners live longer. Loneliness is a major challenge for older people, and adopting a pet makes good sense to combat that lonliness. Not only will a pet be a loving companion, but it will also help with exercise and boredom. It is something that needs taken care of. You just have to be careful to adopt the right pet, as some pets are better for older people than others. Here are some thinks to consider:
Dogs. The size of the dog – as well as the breed – may be your biggest decision. Bigger dogs usually require fenced-in backyards and more exercise. Smaller dogs tend to be more protective of their owners. Smaller breeds are “lap dogs” and easier to transport, and usually are less energetic. There are, however, exceptions, such as high-strung breeds like Jack Russell terriers. Puppy or adult dog? Adult dogs have longer attention spans and do less damage to your house. However, with an older dog, you also acquire a dog who may have certain negative habits.
Cats. In some ways, cats can be a better choice than a dog as they tend to adjust to a wider variety of lifestyles. They do just as well in small apartment as big houses. Kittens, like puppies, tend to be more rambunctious and playful, whereas older cats are more settled and not so prone to roam. Visit a pet store or pound and get to know the various breeds before making a decision. Short-haired cats are easier to care for as they need less grooming.
Birds. Birds can also make good pets. Choices need to be made here as well. Cockatiels aren’t as nervous as parakeets and live longer. Some cockatiel owners even claim they’ve taught their birds to talk. Parrots make delightful pets and can be taught to talk, and tend to live a long time (so a senior may want to name a guardian).
Others. Other pets to consider are smaller animals, such as bunnies, hamsters, and fish. They are less interactive and tend to be more nocturnal, but could make a great companion for your home.