Human community is often discussed as an important part of health for older adults. Pet companionship can be very beneficial to older adults. An article for AARP by Sarah Adler on April 3, 2019 called “Sharing Your Home With a Pet is Also Good For Your Health” details the findings of an AARP survey on pet ownership. The most notable finding was that adults who lived alone reported the biggest benefits of pet ownership (Adler, 2019). To me, this stands out because a lot of our clients live alone. Sure, some of them are unable to care for pets, but some still are and some even currently have pets.

There are ways for older adults to get benefits from being around pets even if they don’t want to commit to ownership. Fostering with a local humane society or rescue is always a good option. The Kentucky Humane Society has a wide array of volunteer positions, including cat and dog socialization. This is basically playing with cats and dogs. Of course, if you’re not able to volunteer or foster, you do not have to do that. Volunteering with animals is incredibly rewarding, and you really feel like you’ve contributed to making their lives in the shelter just a little bit brighter. And if you or someone you know is adopting, consider an older pet. They need just as much love, but no longer have all that young animal energy. They are the perfect chill buddies.

If you are a loved one of an older adult, having your pet around them can bring them pet companionship. My grandfather was best friends with one of my dogs growing up, and their friendship is why my grandmother got him a service dog while he was struggling with Alzheimer’s.

I will see you next time on our blog, and keep checking in for our Carecember posts!

Written by Brigid Stakelum