Welcoming a pet companion in your golden years

A Legacy Circle member at Animal Humane Society outside with a gray dog

Pets can be a great source of joy and companionship, no matter how old you are. Studies have shown that particularly as we age, pets can provide important social support that reduces loneliness and improves quality of life. 

If you’re wondering if a pet is right for you in your golden years, here are some factors to consider. 

1. Pets get us moving 

Exercise is important at any age, and it’s no secret that all pets, especially dogs, get us moving. 

From daily walks to playtime, pets can provide motivation for physical activity and improve overall physical health as a result. 

2. Pets provide companionship and a sense of purpose 

For many people, pets become family. Their unconditional love lifts us up, and they bring joy to everyday life, comfort in crisis, and strength in the face of adversity. 

The companionship they provide has been shown to combat loneliness and depression, both of which uniquely impact older adults. 

Pets can also provide a sense of purpose since they rely on us for their wellbeing. And their daily routines of feeding, walking, playing, and grooming can provide structure to the day.  

3. Different types of pets provide different benefits 

An AHS staff member holds a brown bunny close to their chest

Before adopting a new pet, consider your lifestyle. Do you have any physical limitations that would make taking a dog for a walk difficult? Are you someone who likes to be active, or do you prefer calmer activities that might be more appropriate for a cat or bird?  

It’s also important to consider the age and lifespan of the pet. Are you adopting a kitten that could potentially outlive you, or would you be more comfortable adopting an adult animal? 

4. Make a plan for the future 

No matter the age of your pet, it’s important to make a plan for what to do if they outlive you or you need to move to a facility that doesn’t allow pets. 

Have a conversation with a family member, friend, or designated caregiver and put your plan in writing to ensure your pet will be taken care of according to your wishes, no matter the situation. 

Legacy Circle donors who include Animal Humane Society in their estate plan are eligible for our Loved for Life program. As part of the Loved for Life program, we’ll find your pet a loving home in the event you can no longer care for them. 

Are your ready to adopt a new furry friend?

Welcoming a pet into your home can be a rewarding experience — for you and your pet — and can contribute to healthy aging. 

Animal Humane Society’s adoption services specialists can help you find the perfect pet to fit your lifestyle. Visit one of our three adoption centers today!