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What Are the Best Companion Pets for Seniors

If you're considering getting a companion pet for your elderly family members, read on to learn more about the benefits of pet therapy and choose the best pet type for them.

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    I only saw my parents on the weekends due to my hectic job schedule. I used to think that when I wasn’t around, my parents had terrific social lives with their friends, family, and other senior folks. But I soon realized that my parents were often home alone, bored, or without someone with whom they could talk. I started to worry that they might feel lonely and bored. This thought had tormented me for a very long time.

    Then, one of my friends suggested getting them a pet companion as a socializing friend. I gave it some thought and ultimately decided to get my parents a small puppy, Milo. Amazingly, they appeared happier and more content with their little friend. They love taking care of Milo, talking to him, and walking him around the park daily.

    If you’re thinking of getting a companion pet for your elderly family members, read on to learn more about the benefits of pet therapy and choose the best pet type for them.

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    What Are the Best Companion Pets for Our Elderly Family Members?

    The Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

    12Oaks-senior couple walking with labrador retriever dog in autumn park-ss-The Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

    Pet therapy for seniors is a method that involves interacting with animals for a variety of reasons to enhance the life quality of our senior citizens.

    Pets listen to people without passing judgment and show unconditional love. This is particularly helpful when your parents want to express ideas they would not feel comfortable sharing with relatives or friends. Animals can, therefore, be considered pals with whom your parents can confide and socialize.

    This therapy benefits the patient not only emotionally but also physically. For example, walking a dog encourages improved mobility and is a safe, healthful form of exercise. Meanwhile, feeding and grooming activities help improve their physical abilities and motivate them to be more active. By taking care of their companion pets, our seniors will also have the opportunity to show their affection and responsibility.

    A few studies have been conducted to determine whether owning a pet affects one’s quality of life, sense of loneliness, anxiety, and overall health. According to two studies, dog owners believed that their pets’ presence reduced mental tensions. They also reported a smaller decline in mental health and a decrease in loneliness. However, additional research should be done to provide more convincing findings.


    4 Best Companion Pets for Seniors


    Dogs’ friendly and sociable natures make them ideal pets for seniors.

    Dogs are known to be friends with hospital patients and seniors in nursing homes. They are also companions for those who have been diagnosed with mental and physical illnesses. At the end of the day, dogs are always “man’s best friend.”

    Many elders would like to own a dog but are aware that they may not be unable to take care of such an active and big animal. Therefore, small dogs, like Maltese, Chihuahua, or Shih Tzu, make excellent companions.



    Suppose your elderly relatives desire a furry companion, but their energy and health don’t allow them to walk a dog. In that case, you can consider introducing a cat to them.

    Many seniors find cats are excellent pet options since they tend to be highly independent, tidy, and quieter than dogs. Cats may need to be brushed or groomed; thus, a little tender loving care from your parents will help to strengthen their human-animal bond.

    Unlike felines, a golden retriever or even a tiny dog may take up a lot of space. Additionally, they require a good deal of room for their toys, the area for them to play, and their enjoyment of sprawling out into everyone else’s personal space. On the other hand, cats may live well in small spaces. Your cat will likely be content as long as you can accommodate their necessities, including little boxes, food, and water dishes.



    Having a fish tank at home has a somewhat meditative quality to it. Everything in it creates a therapeutic atmosphere, from the soft lighting and the soothing hum of the filter to the sight of fish frolicking.

    Goldfish are one of the most common fish kept as pets since they are vibrant, tranquil, and have a long lifespan.

    Fish require routine care to maintain their health and clean living space. To guarantee that the fish have the ideal living conditions, you should provide your elderly relatives with precise, detailed instructions on caring for their pet fish.



    12Oaks-Beautiful light blue parrot on shelf indoors. Cute pet-ss-4 Best Companion Pets for Seniors

    Are you worried that your parents stay home all day, have no one to mingle with, and get increasingly silent with time? You can consider getting them a lively, chirpy pet bird, perhaps even a talking variety like a parrot.

    Keeping pet birds can help promote social connections both between your parents and their birds, as well as with other bird owners. It is a genuinely lovely feeling for your parents to hear their little parrot greet them when they come home or when they get up every morning.

    According to studies, spending time with pets is great for health. Keeping a pet bird helps reduce stress and start the healing process for diseases like depression. Birds have been shown to be cordial companions and may also offer non-judgmental assistance.


    The 12 Oaks Approach

    12Oaks-Beautiful light blue parrot on shelf indoors. Cute pet-ss-4 Best Companion Pets for Seniors

    Because seniors can benefit greatly from interactions with animals, some assisted living communities now provide pet therapy to promote healing power for seniors of any age. Among these facilities are 12 Oaks managed Senior Communities.

    All living and social spaces at the 12 Oaks communities are specifically crafted to nurture entertainment, comfort, and convenience. Your beloved family members will have countless opportunities to build their friendships, not just with humans but also with little companion pets. Our dedicated staff provides individualized support and attention to our residents to help them lead fulfilling, healthy, and balanced lives.


    If you have questions about companion pets for seniors or anything discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

    At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while still leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

    For questions or to book a scheduled personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.



    Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a virtual tour.




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    If you're interested in learning more about 12 Oaks Senior Living, please call 214-871-2155 or click here to schedule a personalized tour.