Pets are an important part of many families today. They offer constant love, affection and companionship. They usually go just about everywhere that we go. Having an animal can be beneficial to people of any age. One age bracket that is growing in terms of pet ownership is senior citizens. More and more, older adults are adopting pets as emotional support animals.

You can find out more online at sites including and many others. A licensed mental health care professional can officially prescribe emotional support animals. There are so many different kinds of animals that can meet a person’s needs.

Here are just some ways in which pet ownership can benefit the elderly:

1. They’re great stress relievers.

Owning a pet of any kind is a great way to combat stress, anxiety and depression. Pets are unconditional givers and receivers of love and affection. Taking the time to sit with a pet or just petting them for a few minutes can help ease a person’s mind and help them forget about whatever they were worrying about.

2. They’re good companions.

Seniors who may feel lonely or isolated from the rest of their family and friends often turn to pet ownership. Having a pet in their life doesn’t make them feel so lonely anymore. They have someone at their side that they can smile with, laugh with and share special moments in life. In time, our pets become trusted friends.

3. They’re conversation starters.

Taking your pet for a walk in the park can be a great way to meet new people. Many pet owners often find they have common interests with other pet owners. Thanks to their animals, they have started new friendships.

4. They can help you stay healthy.

Going for a brisk walk or jog with your dog or cat is a good way to get daily exercise. You can enjoy the outside air and burn off calories at the same time. It’s also a great way to improve breathing and cardiovascular functions. It also helps with weight control for both you and your animal. You can even make walking your animal part of a regular wellness routine.

5. They give us purpose.

Owning a pet gives their owner a lot of responsibilities. Taking care of their health, walking them, feeding them, and giving them attention all become part of our daily routines. These routines can often give seniors a sense of purpose. It gives them something to look forward to every day, just to see the smile on their pet’s face in appreciation of their owner’s hard work and dedication.

6. They help keep seniors engaged.

Taking care of an animal is just part of a senior’s every day routine. It gives them something positive to do, in conjunction with activities like visiting others, running errands and volunteering. Pets help seniors stay focused, motivated and active.

7. They provide security for their owners.

Some pets can provide added security for senior citizens. They are very loyal to their owners, and will instinctively defend them when needed. Some dogs serve as watchdogs or guard dogs, keeping vigilant watch over the homestead at night or while their owners are away. This provides seniors with added peace of mind. It’s one less thing to worry about, and one more benefit of owning a pet.

These are just some of the many ways that pet ownership can enhance a senior citizen’s lifestyle. If you are a senior citizen or you know of a senior that could use an animal companion, do some research. If they are living in an apartment complex or assisted living facility, check with the administrators to see what kinds of pets are allowed in that particular building. Pets provide lots of fun, silliness and unforgettable memories for people. They help make the golden years much more valuable for their owners.

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