One of the most unfortunate aspects of aging, retiring, and living on your own is that time spent alone may increase, leading to feelings of lonesomeness and isolation. On the other hand, one of the greatest features to living in a senior living or assisted living community is that you’re always surrounded by other people, with countless opportunities to meet, and grow your social circle. What’s great about many senior living communities like St. Paul’s Plaza and St. Paul’s Manor is that they are pet-friendly, allowing you not only to spend time with others outside your apartment but have companionship in your apartment as well. Owning a pet offers many benefits for seniors. Here are the most suitable pets that offer companionship with the smallest amount of stress.
Perhaps the most popular domesticated pet today, dogs offer an abundance of positives to pet owners. Firstly, if loneliness/isolation is the primary concern, then there is no better pet to own than a dog. The title “Man’s Best Friend” wasn’t acquired accidentally, as dogs are well-known to be one of the most loving and compassionate pets around.
Secondly, certain dogs are trained to assist the elderly with mobility, hearing or sight deficiencies, as well as medical emergencies such as seizures or diabetes. Relating back to those who spend a majority of their time alone, having a companion around 24/7 with the ability to assist you in an emergency of any capacity is imperative. Dogs remain one of the best overall fits as pets for the elderly. Due to their unconditional love, dogs are the perfect partner for those suffering from loneliness.
If you’re looking for a companion, yet can’t take care of the responsibilities associated with dogs, then perhaps cats are the pets for you. Cats are one of the most self-sustaining domestic pets to own. Besides replacing litter and regular feeding, there’s not much else care that cats require on a daily basis. While they are known not to be as affectionate as their canine counterpart, cats are loving creatures and can create a strong connection with their owner.
What you’re losing out on with cats is any type of disability/medical emergency that dogs would be able to assist you with. However, if you’re not looking for all of the burdens associated with caring for dogs, then cats are the best substitute. While more effort might be needed to create a long-lasting friendship, cats offer an abundance of positives to outweigh this potential con.
Shifting over from the two major household pets, one of the most appropriate pets for small space living is birds. Birds spend the majority, if not all of their time in cages which makes them optimal for small living quarters, such as those living in senior living communities. Additionally, birds are low-maintenance, as they require minimal grooming and their food is inexpensive.
One of the unique traits that birds have over most household pets is their life longevity. Many bird species live up to 100 years of age, thus eliminating the fear of losing a companion after years of building a strong relationship. Birds are also very intelligent, and can often communicate with their owners after building a connection. All in all, birds are a safer pet alternative with less associated responsibility.
The first, and perhaps most important aspect of owning fish is how quiet they are. Unlike every other pet mentioned above, fish are relatively silent and are even known to cause relaxing and tranquil effects on those who sit and observe them for an extended period of time. The equipment required to house a fish can be expensive, but the flip side of that is fish food is inexpensive, and they are the most self-sustaining pet you can own.
Besides daily feeding and a bi-weekly cleaning of their fish tank, there’s not much else that fish require to live. Additionally, fish tanks can also moonlight as a stylish piece of interior decorating anyone would want in his or her home. In finality, fish are some of the most, if not the most, easy-going pets you can own. If the proper care is given, expect fishes to quietly and calmly go about their business in a tranquil matter.
There’s a multitude of pets that can help seniors with loneliness, medical emergencies, and other stressful daily events. All of these pets serve individual purposes, and they should all receive fair consideration. For those looking for unconditional love alongside trained medical care in case of emergencies, a dog is your best bet. If the responsibilities of owning a dog are too much to bear, yet you still want a loving connection between you and your pet, a cat might be the most suitable house pet for you. Continuing the trend of low-maintenance pets, birds are optimal for those scarred from previous pets’ passing or in smaller living spaces.
Finally, fish are the ultimate low-maintenance house pet, requiring little care and even adding a home decor element as a result of the fish tank.
All in all, you can’t go wrong selecting any of the animals listed above. There is a pet for everyone, and the true determiner of what animal would work best depends on the situation.
All of these pets will help those suffering from loneliness, some of them can assist in medical emergencies, and some can communicate with you. Pets are a great way to add a friend into your life and reduce stress overall. For those currently living in senior living communities, don’t let your decreased home space deter you from adding a quality pet!
About The Author:
Matthew Boyle is the chief operating officer at Landmark Senior Living, a series of top-rated assisted living facilities in the Midwestern United States. He has been working in the healthcare space for seven years and graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude.