Seniors and Pets EmbassyNo matter what your age, we all know the joy, warmth and comfort a pet can bring. A dog's furiously wagging tail can put anyone into a better mood. The peace and companionship you feel when a cat jumps up into your lap for a nice, long petting session is wonderful.

And for many seniors, having a pet in the home has been shown to directly enhance health and quality of life. Check out these benefits of having a pet and gather some tips for picking out the best pet for you.

Benefits of having a pet
Deciding to have a pet can be one of the best decisions you can make for your health and well-being.

  • Companionship: The simplest and most obvious benefit of having a pet is companionship. A pet can help prevent depression and feelings of loneliness. This can be especially important after the loss of a spouse or if your family and friends are not close by.
  • Emotional Well-being: Pets are so good for you that simply touching them can reduce stress. Imagine the benefits of a full on snuggle fest! Interacting with your pet can diminish anxious feelings and help keep your emotions centered.
  • Physical Health: Having a pet means you have to get up off the couch and move! Simple chores like feeding your pet, taking you dog for a walk, cleaning the litter box, and playing with your pet all help you stay active. Pets have even been shown to improve heart health and lower blood pressure.
  • Engaging in life: If you live alone, it can be difficult to get out as much as you'd like, which can make you feel disconnected and even depressed. A pet helps you stay busy and helps you focus on life's joys. A pet can even help you make friends with other pet lovers.
  • Routine: A pet needs you to do almost everything, and they don't like to be kept waiting. Feeding, grooming, exercising and playing with your pet helps you form a routine. That routine can actually slow the aging process and help you stay healthy longer.

How to choose the best pet for you
As wonderful as a pet sounds, keep in mind that not all pets are suitable for everyone. Choosing the right pet can add great value to your life, but the wrong pet can become a burden and a nuisance.

  • Consider your abilities and limitations: A puppy or kitten may look adorable and fluffy, but they need a lot of time, energy and attention. A more mature pet is often a better idea for seniors. The best place to look for a new pet is at your local animal shelter.
  • Think about how much help you will need: While a mature dog might have the more laid back demeanor you need, he'll still need to go for walks and have a good romp now and then. If you or someone else in your life can't regularly supply that for him, you may want to consider pet that requires less physical interaction, like a lap cat.
  • Put a plan in place: Life can be unpredictable, especially for seniors. Put a plan in place with a neighbor or friend or relative nearby who can care for your pet if you're suddenly unable to do so, even for a short time.

Many of our locations, like The Woods at Solon Pointe, welcome small pets! For more information about Embassy Healthcare and how we can help your pets care for you, give us a call at 888-975-1379.