July 15, 2022
Reading Time 4 min.

Pets for Seniors: How to Find the Right One for your Mom

Are you looking for pets for seniors?

It's no secret that pets make everyone feel better. 

From reducing stress levels to improving heart health, there are plenty of reasons why you need to choose pets for seniors. 

Today, we will be discussing the benefits of pets for seniors and how to find the right type of pet for your loved ones. 

So let's get started. 

What is pet therapy?

Growing old can be terribly lonely. 

Imagine this. You were once so busy with life, raising a family, building a career, and living life. 

Then the kids start going to college. They leave the house, giving you more time to rediscover yourself and pursue new things. 

Some seniors have the time of their life. Others don't enjoy it as much, especially if they don't have good ways to cope with the loss. 

Depression is common in the elderly and more so for those who are living alone. 

Late-life depression affects about 6 million seniors in the US alone. The sad part is that only about 10% of this population gets the treatment they need. 

Depression is also linked to other illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and dementia. And if not addressed, it can lead to death. 

Here's where pet therapy comes in. 

pet therapy

Pet therapy for seniors is a technique used to help seniors improve their quality of life. Some assisted living facilities include animal-assisted therapy as part of their offerings. 

There are three types of pet therapy: ownership, visitation, and animal-assisted therapy. 

Ownership therapy is a type where seniors who are willing and able, own pets. However, this requires them to properly care for their chosen animal. Proper care means walking and exercising pets, veterinary care, and grooming. 

Visitation therapy involves pets visiting seniors at home or in their assisted living facility. 

On the other hand, animal-assisted therapy requires a more intensive approach. Therefore, it is reserved for seniors who require treatment for clinical depression. 

In these cases, seniors are paired with a highly trained therapy pet. 

The owner and the pet go through obedience training. It usually involves rigorous testing and certification, including temperament testing and other physical exams. 

While loneliness can be a common issue for seniors, pet therapy has been shown to help improve socialization and overall wellbeing. 

If you're looking for ways to help your elderly loved ones feel less lonely, consider introducing them to pet therapy. 

The benefits of pets for seniors

Research shows that companion animals help reduce depression and loneliness in the elderly. 

On top of that, there are also tons of benefits that seniors can enjoy when they get pets. Here are a few of the best reasons you should get pets for your aging parents. 

Health benefits 

pet activities

Having a pet can increase a person's physical activity. 

A 12-year study notes that people who have dogs as pets had a lower risk of death related to heart diseases. 

Taking a dog for a walk can burn excess calories and keep your heart healthy. It also improves brain functions, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular strength. 

These activities can lower the risks of strokes, diabetes, heart problems, and cancer. It also helps maintain brain health and reduce the risk of developing dementia in older people. 

Confidence booster 

Studies confirm that seniors with pets have higher confidence and self-esteem. 

Pets help their owners connect and meet with other people.

Having pleasant conversations with fellow pet owners can be a great confidence booster. It also helps reduce social anxiety for most. 

Healing and stress relief 

pets for seniors encourage healing

One superpower of pets is their ability to help us heal. 

Research shows that stroking pets can lower our cortisol levels and blood pressure. It also boosts our oxytocin levels, leaving us more relaxed and at peace.  

Therapy dogs and cats are often brought to hospitals and nursing homes to help patients calm down. 

Offices and universities have also started using animals to relieve stress at work. 


Caring for pets is a lot of responsibility. But, at the same time, it also gives the owner the feeling of being wanted and loved. 

It's pretty common for pet owners to talk to their pets. Some even use this technique to work through difficult situations. 

Pet care also provides structure and routine to a person's daily life. 

Most pets require regular feeding, exercise, and play. This gives the owner a sense of order in their schedule, giving them a sense of purpose.   

How to find the right type of pets for seniors 

pet personality

It's best to consider your aging parents' personalities before getting them a pet. 

And one of the critical things to consider is how much maintenance the pet needs. 

The idea is to get low-maintenance pets. And this will depend on what type of activities your parents enjoy the most. 

Some may like fluffy pets like cats, dogs, and rabbits. Others prefer exotic ones like lizards and turtles. 

It's also important to consider the type of activities your elders enjoy. For example, are they more active or prefer lounging around? 

Some animals also require a lot of attention. So it's also a must-see if your parents can handle the expenses of having pets. 

While you think it's a great idea to surprise them with a dog or a cat, it is important to ask them for their preferences ahead of time. After all, they're the ones taking care of it. 

Final thoughts 

Pets can provide a sense of companionship and purpose for seniors. 

But it's important to consider what the senior wants in a pet before bringing one into their home. 

We will be discussing this topic further in our next blog post, so stay tuned! 

In the meantime, if you are considering getting a pet for an elderly loved one, please keep these things in mind.

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!


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