4 Reasons Why Pets Are Beneficial for Seniors

4 Benefits of Pets for Seniors

Having a pet during retirement can be the perfect cure-all. Pets provide owners with companionship, the opportunity to get out of the house, and a regular routine. Normally, you envision pets as either cats or dogs, but there are a variety of pets that are easy to take care of for retirees. Read on to discover four benefits of pets for seniors, low-maintenance pets to consider, and what to look for in a pet-friendly independent senior living community.

1. Exercise and Socialization

Seniors often enjoy the benefits of pet ownership in respect to exercise and increased socialization. If you have a dog, frequent walks and playful games can provide you and your pet with an opportunity to break up your day and add in some physical activity. In addition to that, pets give the opportunity to socialize and build connections with fellow pet owners in your community. Strolls around the neighborhood, trips to the park, and even playing in your living room helps to relieve stress and reset your mind in the midst of a long day — hence why it’s called pet therapy! 

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2. Emotional Support

In addition to freeing your mind from stressful thoughts, participating in any type of “pet therapy” can reduce and eliminate feelings of loneliness when dealing with difficult life changes and emotional hardships. A pet’s presence can be calming and soothing to reduce anxiety, whether it is social or general. The unconditional love that pets provide allows you to manage your stress by providing meaning, comfort, and reassurance. As a result, an incredible bond is created between pet and owner.

3. Memory Improvement

Studies have shown that owning a pet can enhance memory recall, memory retention, and overall cognitive function for older adults. Stress can adversely affect cognitive function, so pet ownership’s stress-reducing properties offset the adverse effects and result in higher cognitive function compared to seniors without pets. Additionally, the routine associated with pet care aids in memory retention, as you would have regular feeding times, walking periods, and potty breaks.

Furthermore, since brain health is associated with neurological disease and cardiovascular issues, minimizing these factors through pet ownership can enhance cognitive function and memory overall.

4. Structure and Routine

As you grow into retirement, you are transitioning into a new lifestyle filled with leisure, new experiences, and new people. Some may find transitioning to a new lifestyle difficult, so owning a pet can help to ease the transition. One of the benefits of pets for seniors is a better mental health because pets provide a sense of purpose along with a much more structured and routine lifestyle. 

Owning pets can improve socialization within the community, which is vital for maintaining a well-rounded mental health. Pet ownership can bring about feelings of purpose and companionship, as well as provide more security for older adults.

Offering opulent amenities, Seafields at Kiawah Islands ensures a seamless transition into retirement and life in a Life Plan community. Discover if you are ready for retirement and how to transition into the lock and leave lifestyle by reading our blog.

As you can see, the benefits of owning a pet are plentiful, as they allow you to maintain structure, enhance your mental health, become physically active, and offer emotional support. Now that we have established the advantages, let’s consider which types of pets are most appropriate for senior living environments.

Low-Maintenance Pets

Cats and dogs are the most common pets for seniors, but there are several low maintenance pets that can provide comfort and companionship. Some of the most common pets may bring familiarity, but depending on the type or breed, they can require quite a bit of responsibility. This is important to note, as a temperamental pet can cause additional stress if you are unable to properly care for them. As an alternative to the typical cat or dog, here are some of the best low maintenance pets for seniors. 


Rabbits make wonderful pets for seniors, despite the fact that they do require daily maintenance. They are small, provide plenty of affection, and create close bonds with their owners. Certain rabbit breeds may grow to weigh as much as 20 pounds, however, smaller breeds such as Havanas and Holland lops usually weigh between three and five and a half pounds. It is important to note that rabbits enjoy exploring their homes and gardens, as well as socializing with their owners. In addition to being active, they provide companionship without making you overexert yourself.


Despite not being as physically active as rabbits, cats, or dogs, fish are excellent companions for older adults and enhance both their mental and cardiovascular health. Some evidence states that watching an aquarium lowers blood pressure, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, and strokes. Interestingly enough, owning fish can provide benefits to people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia due to their anti-anxiety properties, which is why you will find a number of medical facilities with aquariums.


In the event that you wish to have a companion that will not only keep you company but also provide some entertainment, birds will be a great choice. Because they are small and low-maintenance, they require little attention from their owners. Many bird species like to live in flocks of two or three, so it is fascinating to observe how they interact with one another. Parrotlets are some of the best species to keep because they are the smallest type of parrot and are capable of a reasonable amount of chatter compared to Macaws. Other popular bird species for seniors include cockatiels, parakeets, and canaries. 

Benefits of Pet Therapy

In spite of the fact that pet therapy is not as long-term as pet ownership, it has many benefits, including lowering anxiety, depression, and blood pressure. An average pet therapy session lasts between 15 and 20 minutes and is facilitated by the healthcare provider and handler. During that time, you may pet the animal, most commonly a dog or cat, and ask any questions you may have. It also entails other pet-assisted activities and has been incorporated into many medical and non-medical institutions such as assisted living communities and universities.

Amenities – Seafields at Kiawah Island

A Home for You and Your Pet at Seafields

Pets for seniors offer a wide range of health benefits while also providing them with a sense of joy. Consequently, many senior living communities are pet-friendly and provide pet therapy to help individuals cope with any trauma they may be experiencing.

Seafields offers a pet friendly atmosphere coupled with opulent amenities and connectedness through community. Both you and your pet will be able to enjoy a seamless transition into retirement with the opportunity to explore all of Kiawah Island’s fascinating sights. In our Life Plan Community, we have 90 spacious independent living residences and a variety of floor plans to choose from. If you think Seafields could be your next home, click the button below to contact us and learn more about our community.