For many people retirement is a long-awaited milestone, but it often comes with losing some of the structure, social connections, and sense of purpose that everyday career and family obligations bring. In fact, many older Australians experience stress, anxiety, and even depression as they adjust to their new lifestyle. One great way to add routine and meaning to your life beyond the workforce is with a companion animal. Here are just some of the many benefits owning a four-legged friend can bring to the lives of the senior members of our community.
They Offer Love and Companionship
Pets shower their owners with unconditional love and affection. For those living alone, and those with no family or friends close by, owning a pet can help prevent feelings of social isolation or depression. Feeling loved can help older people fight off feelings of sadness and loneliness and live happier, and longer lives.
They Encourage Physical Activity
It is important to stay active in retirement, but it can definitely be challenging, especially if you experience health or mobility issues. Walking, feeding, and giving a pet attention will keep you moving without it feeling like a chore. Taking a stroll around the block with your pooch, throwing a ball around your home with a feline friend, and even going to the shops to buy food, toys, and treats provide opportunities to avoid being sedentary.
They Help Relieve Stress
Research has shown that people with pets are less stressed than people without them. Studies have linked pet ownership to increased relaxation and lower stress levels and have also indicated that seniors are more likely to feel joy and engage with others when pets are around. A simple stroke of your furry friend’s coat can instantly give you a sense of calm, making them an important source of emotional support during challenging times.
They Encourage Socialisation
Having a pet creates opportunities to interact with other people, especially fellow pet owners. Pets can help retirees stay socially connected through pet clubs and meet-ups with people who have similar interests.
They Can Give Their Carer a Purpose
Many seniors struggle to find a sense of fulfilment once they are out of the workforce and away from the typical workday routine. Caring for a pet provides a new sense of responsibility and usefulness, which can improve self-confidence and give life a whole new meaning.
Considering Adopting a Furry Friend? Here’s a Few Things to Consider
Before you decide to bring a pet into your life, it’s important that understand that it is a big commitment and responsibility. You should carefully consider:
- Your energy levels – it’s only natural to experience significantly lower energy levels than you once had in your younger years. An older pet might be a better match for you as they will be less active, and less inclined to jump and need extensive exercise and entertainment.
- Experience with owning pets – if you have never owned a pet, opting for a cat might be a good start as they tend to be more self-sufficient than dogs.
- Mobility – if you aren’t good on your feet or you lose balance easily, an active pup or kitten may not be the best option. Additionally, if you will not be able to take a dog on a regular walk, a house cat might be better.
- You should also look for a pet that fits your lifestyle – younger pets may tempt you with their cuteness, but they are also very active and require lots of attention and exercise. Generally, older pets with relaxed temperaments will align well with your lifestyle and energy levels.
- If you no longer reside in your own home, make sure you check your residence’s pet policy to see the rules and regulations surrounding pet ownership.
Pets bring so much joy to their owners, especially in retirement. If you are thinking of adopting a pet, speak to your local Armadale-Byford Vet, Railway Avenue Veterinary Hospital today. We can help with any questions you have and give expert guidance to help you select the right pet for you. Offering a wide range of pet care services, Armadale retirees can rely on us for all their pet health needs. Book an appointment online or call 08 9497 1547 today.