What to know about adopting a pet later in life

Companion animals can bring great joy to owners of all ages. It’s not uncommon for seniors to feel lonely or depressed after they retire, their children move away or they lose a spouse or close friend or friends.

Pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing affection, company and entertainment, according to the American Humane Society. Pets can provide mental stimulation and may encourage owners to be more physically active.

Adopting pets may help seniors feel a sense of purpose. This is particularly true of adopting older companion animals, which many young families are hesitant to adopt. When seniors are looking to adopt a pet, there are various reasons why older pets or particular animals might be the perfect fit for them, including:

– Adult pets may already be house trained, saving seniors the trouble of training them.

– Seniors may find that cats fit their lifestyles more than dogs, since cats are less active and do not need to be walked or played with as much as dogs. Cats are small and can easily maneuver, meaning even seniors who have arthritis or other physical limitations can easily care for cats. Many cats are also content to spend long periods of time sleeping.

– Small dogs that can be active within the house might be a good idea as well, especially for seniors with mobility issues. They’re easily transported to and from vet appointments.

It’s important that seniors carefully weigh the benefits of adopting a pet against any limitations they may have, such as if they anticipate frequent travel or medical care that requires they be away from home for long periods of time.

Having a backup plan for care is advantageous.

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