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Helping Seniors Who Suffer From Loneliness

Seniors shouldn’t have to suffer from loneliness or a lack of companionship. Not when animal shelters have so many animals needing love and a good home.

In Helping Seniors Who Suffer From Loneliness, there are plenty of shelters with pets who need homes.

For elderly pet owners who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help in many ways.

Having a pet can reduce stress and lower blood pressure while increasing social interaction and physical activity.

Is 65 Too Old To Adopt A Pet?

With some careful choices and a little planning, you can have a cat or dog at any time in your life.

Many animal shelters allow seniors to adopt pets at a reduced cost. Some also have “seniors for seniors” programs that specialize in matching older animals with older humans.

There are many reasons seniors should think about adopting a pet.

Having a pet can reduce the risk of having a heart attack. And it can also boost your chances of long-term survival if you do have one.

Pets For The Elderly Program:

It can be more affordable for seniors to have pets when paired with organizations whose mission it is to pair them with pets.

The mission of PFE is to provide companionship to senior individuals through pet ownership while saving the lives of companion animals in shelters.

The Pets for the Elderly Foundation helps pay the fees to participating animal shelters throughout the United States for senior citizens (age 60 and over) who adopt a companion dog or cat from a participating shelter.

This includes pre-adoption veterinary exams and spay/neuter if it is part of the adoption fee.

Pets For The Elderly participating shelters can be found here.

In addition to funding for pet adoptions, the Pets For The Elderly program also includes financial support for veterinary services, retention assistance, food shortage support, and other services for adopters age 60 or over at select shelters.

Thinking Ahead:

If you are a senior, it is wise to choose someone in your life who will promise to find your pet a good and loving home should you die first.

That home might be their home. Or it might be someone else’s home.

But it should be someone who will love and care for your beloved pet almost as well as you do now.

An elderly man with his beloved white cat.

Vital Information About Your Pet:

  • Write out your pet’s routine and habits
  • Write down the food your pet eats
  • Write down your pet’s veterinarian
  • Write down any medication your pet needs and currently takes.

Keep this information in an envelope with the name and number of the person who will take care of your pet should you become ill or die.

On the front of the envelope, write “In case of emergency.”

Put this information where it can be easily found.

It’s important to have this information where emergency personnel can find it and pass it on to the individual you’ve addressed it to.

In Helping Seniors Who Suffer From Loneliness, a woman hugs her big black dog.

Research shows the most serious disease for seniors is not cancer or heart disease. It’s loneliness.

Pets offer affection, and unconditional love, fight loneliness and can even help ease the loss of a loved one.

Health Benefits Of Pets For Seniors:

  1. Pets make their owners feel needed
  2. Pets help their owners form connections with other people
  3. Pets help relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation
  4. Pets help people be mindful
  5. Pets can speed up recovery
  6. Pets help improve fitness
A senior woman holding her black cat

When my neighbor Steve and I are visiting one another, we often chat about what our cats are up to. It’s one of the main topics of conversation.

This is because our pets are vitally important to us. They are family. Our pets enrich our lives and make us more content living alone.

I don’t know what I’d do without Ivy.

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28 Comments

  1. My animals keep me going…taking care of them keeps me from becoming a complete couch potato…my 2 little dogs are trained to go potty in the house and outside…so do not have to go out in the dark or on cold days…they bring us such joy…we are enjoying our 6month old kitten too and were just talking about how well she is fitting in…someone asked why I would get another cat and I said because we can! Life is too short not to enjoy the love you get from these critters. 💕

  2. All of this note just makes me grin from ear to ear. Pets are an essential part of life (for me).

  3. I don’t consider myself elderly. I call myself ageless. Two years ago my husband and I adopted not one, but two Lab puppies. They have been such a joy in our lives and it makes us have to get outside to exercise them. They make us laugh, too. My daughter and her husband said they would find homes for all three of our dogs if we die before them. I think I still have another puppy in my future!

  4. Planning for who will eventually care for your pet is so essential. Thank you for including the instructions in your post. Doing this planning will assure that your pet will not end up in a shelter (or on the streets), sad and confused and grieving for its owner.

  5. I put down our final dog in April 2021, and the oldest one five years ago tomorrow. What I wouldn’t give to have another dog! But dealing with my husband’s health issues is a full time job, and I no longer have anyone in our town that I can swap dog-tending with. So I wait…

    1. Oh, I hope you get to have another dog. To me, a pet just lights up a home and makes it happy. As many pets that I have lost and mourned over, I still wouldn’t change ever having had them in my life.

  6. This is definitely a thought-provoking post, Brenda! I’m thankful every day for my sweet Cooper. He’s a 14-year-old black and white Shih Tzu who is in charge of my life. LOL He forces me out the door to take a walk several times a day, he keeps me entertained with his sweet antics, he keeps me company and listens whenever I talk about anything (without judgment, mind you). I have difficulty imagining my life without him.
    I find it very interesting that loneliness is the most serious disease for seniors, but I can see how it would be.

    1. Maybe loneliness causes people to give up hope. I don’t know. But I’d be lost without Ivy. She’s the light that is my every day.

  7. Many rescues welcome anyone who would foster a dog or cat in a safe and loving home
    . They still pay for food and medical care because the pet is not really yours to own, just yours to care for. This leaves more room in shelters for them to take in more pets in need of help. There are all ages of animals so finding one appropriate to your own age is doable. I have six, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 horses, and I’m NEVER lonely!

  8. I love this post! Thank you for putting it out there. Maybe it will result in one or more shelter placements!
    There’s also the option to foster pets. Imagine the joy a litter of kittens would bring a lonely senior. No long term commitment required, and possibly a fur-ever foster-fail home for mama cat!
    Also: I feel sorry for people who look at a pet and can’t think beyond cat hair or other inconveniences. They’re also the most miserable complainers in life, per my personal experience. “Fine!” I say…”sit there alone in your spotless house!”

  9. I think you are right Brenda…I do worry about how things will be if I outlive my husband or he outlives me…cause as it stands now, we really are alone a very good proportion of the time. We do not have a good setup here for a pet, even though they are allowed. At least not one we could manage. But we surely do wish we could have another dog. Maybe someday. I know of many others, in other locations, who also are in same situation. Surely it is all part of the plan of the powers that be…surely so.

    1. Maybe someday something will change and you will feel more confident about your situation and be able to get a pet. Ivy is so much company to me!

  10. Simon and I would love to adopt another cat but will we outlive the cat? We can’t bear the thought of leaving a cat to go to yet another home. We have no friends that could or would take on a cat and I would not trust some of my relatives to look after the cat in the way we would. I have looked at some cats waiting for adoption who are older, that is a consideration that we are still pondering.
    We just don’t want to make this all about what we want, the wellbeing of the
    cat is the most important thing.

    1. All I can think of is to possibly ask your vet if he/she would see that your pet got a good home should something happen to you. That is if you feel confident in your vet. I fully understand how you feel. I have told my children that if I die and Ivy is not lovingly cared for that I will haunt them forever.

      1. A Vet Tech and and breed-specific Rescue organization teamed up to get for us the BEST furry family member we will ever have…because her first family could no longer take care of her. The Vet Tech was able to help them see that our girl deserved *much better* than being kept outside all the time.

        I’d encourage people to just ask! 🙂 Including the Techs, not just the Vets.

  11. My dog is PB. When I rescued him he had two names, Panda and Pablo Sandavol. When I was a substitute teacher I told the students that but mixed it up with a drug lord with a similar name. Those names did not suit him so I tried Ranger, Scout, and Robert which were closer sports related names. Finally, I chose Pablo Bob and changed it again to PB. He is the second dog I have ever had. He is a black and white Shitz Zu. He was a good pal during the pandemic although he did get bossy at times. He likes to sit on my feet. Can you explain that?

      1. Sometimes I think our dogs have sat on our feet to stop us from going anywhere without them. 🙂

  12. That’s sad Brenda! That the most serious disease for seniors is loneliness that they die from! Nobody should ever have to feel that way!
    I have family and friends that live around here. My daughter and grands come over tons so I’m always busy with many things to do. I never got into canning, so that’s another thing I’m going to try soon. I have a dog too that is whining to be taken out now. Lol
    Have a fantastic day everyone!

    1. Unfortunately many don’t have a family to visit them. It is terribly sad because there are so many animals waiting to be adopted!

      1. (I couldn’t find the right spot to comment (too exhausted!), so I’ll just post here. 😉 )

        Brenda—-Thank you sooooo much for alerting us all to the PFE program!! I’d never heard of it before. When I used your link to look up our state, I saw one that’s not too far that participates!

        We’re eligible, age-wise, and I just found a dog I would like to take home *tomorrow* as a second furbaby!!!

        He’s the right gender (experts almost always put opposite genders together, right?), our favorite size (89 lbs), a mix (so will likely live longer than a purebred, per our very experienced Vet), is a color we would like, and cute as a button! Will have to see what works out… 🙂 May have to wait for a different one due to Husband’s Cancer, though.

        Can’t thank you enough, Brenda!!!

      2. My daughter moved closer to me, within a few minutes away. Walking distance. She rescued a puppy from a junkyard! The dog just had puppies that were 4 wks old. The owner gave her one and the vet said she was a month old not 6 wks old. She’s getting taller every time I see her meaning her dog. Lol

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