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Having a pet is an excellent idea for an elderly person to alleviate loneliness. Pets become “man’s best friend” as people transition into their golden years. The companionship they offer is one that will give a senior the feeling of love and sense of being needed. Pets can provide a tremendous amount of love and joy to the owner. They are an excellent way to overcome boredom and loneliness which usually affect those in advanced years.
Besides providing companionship, pets such as dogs can be trained to serve as assistance dogs for diseases unique to elderly people such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Moreover, just like we zealously search for love when we are young, older people who may have witnessed so many people exiting their lives need to have someone that is bound to stay around longer; they also need to feel “needed.” Taking care of the pets will give the elderly the feeling of being “needed” by someone else even if the pet cannot talk back.
Research has found that having a pet helps to build self-esteem, increase mental alertness and lift the spirits of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Pets contribute to lower rates of depression by increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin. Finally, owning a pet can help increase physical activity and feelings of well-being in the elderly. Seniors can look after themselves better when they own a pet.
The Perfect Pet For the Elderly
Not all types of pets are suitable for the elderly. When you are young, active and vibrant, you can afford to keep an alligator as a pet, but that’s not the case with someone who is elderly. The responsibilities of owning a pet can overwhelm some seniors.
Therefore when searching for the perfect pet for the elderly, certain criteria should be used to make this determination:
– Easy to manage
– Low energy level
– Requires less medical attention
The following list narrows down some pets that will make a wonderful friend and companion for elderly people:
1. Golden Doodle
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Golden Doodles are very lovely dogs. As the name sounds, it is a hybrid breed. These are a cross-breeding between Golden Retrievers and Poodles. The best part of this type of dog is that it possesses the best traits of both breeds. Golden Doodles is hypoallergenic, making them perfect for a senior suffering from allergies. They require little exercise which you can be accomplished by taking them to the park. This dog breed is ideal for any active senior. They make an excellent companion and are a very charming dog.
2. Boston Terrier
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According to Dane LaJoye, the president of the Boston Terrier Club of America, “Boston terriers are bred to be companion dogs; they love nothing more than to be with their owner, curled up next to their owner in bed or on the sofa watching television. This breed is lively; it will help the owner to get out of the door for exercise in the park and a little bit of socialization. Boston Terriers are playful and happy-go-lucky kinds of dogs but very attentive to their owner’s needs.
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Ragdolls are very lovely cats. They have a polite and subdued voice that they use to initiate play without being overly demanding. This cat breed is very gentle, quiet and interactive. Ragdolls love playing with their owner, but if he or she is not up to it, snuggling can be just as satisfying. Ragdolls have long hair, so they do shed once in a while. However, brushing them on a weekly basis will take care of most loose hair.
4. West Highland Terrier
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This dog breed originated from Scotland, and what makes them perfect for the elderly is their temperament. They are calm and are a wonderfully intelligent breed filled with lots of personality. The best part of owning West Highland Terriers is that they are very loving and loyal to their masters and are also ideal dogs for an apartment. This breed is very intellectually curious; they are bound to keep an elderly person mentally alert. They only need a moderate amount of exercise. The biggest concern with this type of dog is that they don’t do well being left alone for extended periods of time.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very affectionate dogs. They give their owners the feeling of being loved and needed. They have a sweet temperament and love being lap dogs. This breed loves a cooler environment where they can spend a lot of time with their owners.
6. Russian Blue
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Russian Blue is a silver-blue coated playful cat with a heart of gold. This cat breed can lift the spirits of anyone in its household. They thrive more in a laid-back environment with a dependable routine. This type of cat requires cat toys and needs moderate daily exercise. They love being in their owner’s presence at all times. They will follow you from room to room and even run to greet you at the door at times. They also like to climb up on the bed and wait for you when it’s time to sleep.
7. Persians and Himalayans
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Persians and Himalayans make great choices for the elderly who favor companionship over activity. They are mild-mannered cats and not too active. They are known for their constant desire for attention from their owners. These cat breeds have beautiful plush coats which need some weekly grooming to avoid mats and tangles. The owner can give the cat a shorter cut to make grooming easier. These two breeds are very quiet cats.
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Manx is another cat breed that is well-suited to the elderly as a pet. The only drawback is that this cat breed is rare. They are good natured and social. However, they require a daily walk exercise to keep them fit. This cat can jump up virtually any surface, that’s why it is sometimes referred to as the “master jumper”. However, what make them so special is that they are trainable.
9. Golden Retriever
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Golden Retriever is a much loved and classic American dog breed. While popular in the USA, their ancestry is traceable to Britain. This dog breed makes an excellent companion. They are known for their loyalty and will provide their owner with unlimited love. A little exercise may be needed to keep them healthy because they tend to gain weight as they age. This dog breed is ideal for an active elder.
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Pug is a dog breed that was bred in China to serve as a companion to royalty. Today, this dog still maintains their devotion to their owners. They thrive in an environment where they can get maximum attention from their owners. They need encouragement to get up for daily exercise. However, this breed doesn’t have the energy to handle much activity; rather they prefer a brief period of activity which may be perfect for an elderly that is not much active.
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Chihuahuas form tight bonds with their masters. They are also very protective of their owners, so they may make your visitors feel a little “unwelcomed.” Their size makes them suitable for living in an apartment. This breed needs moderate daily walks or outings to keep fit and social, but they hate going outside when it’s cool. Instead, they prefer to stay and play indoors.
12. Bichon Frise
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Bichon Frise is a very popular dog breed among the elderly as a companion. They are usually active and love going on outings. They do well with other dogs and also around children. The best part is that they are hypoallergenic making it an ideal choice for someone suffering from allergies. Their coat requires weekly grooming as well as brushing. This breed has a very sweet temperament, and they make an excellent companion for almost anyone.