Why Retirees Should Get a Pet

Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance?

(3 minute read)

Retirement is a time that brings a lot of change to life, and one of the most positive changes can be adopting a pet. Just when you might be feeling like there’s less to do than ever, a pet means having something to take care of, that loves you unconditionally. Animals have amazing physical, mental, and social benefits to our lives, and for older individuals, these benefits can be even bigger. Here are some of the reasons a retiree should consider getting a pet.

Physical Benefits of Owning a Pet for Retirees

The first and most well-documented benefits of pet ownership are physical. Getting a dog leads by necessity to more walks, and dog ownership has been closely linked to reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, as shared by the American Heart Association and others. Dog owners in particular also have a higher one-year survival rate after heart attacks.

But that’s just the beginning, and limited to one type of pet. Have you ever considered a rabbit? Exposure to many kinds of pets and even farm animals was associated with reduced risk for two types of lymphoma in a 2008 study at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. Interacting with therapy animals also helps fibromyalgia patients report less perception of pain. It’s even been seen that owning a dog or cat can lead an older person to eat more and get more nutrition.

Mental Benefits of Owning a Pet for Retirees

One of the main ways owning a pet can help certain older individuals is with illnesses like depression or dementia. According to a study by the Cleveland Clinic, just petting an animal decreases our stress hormone cortisol, and increases happy neurochemicals like serotonin. Because animals are friendly and non-threatening, they are a living creature that someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia may feel more comfortable interacting with. One Alzheimer’s special care unit saw a decrease in problem daytime behaviors after they got a dog, all the way back in 2002, making these benefits well-documented.

Social Benefits of Owning a Pet for Retirees

There are two levels of social benefits to owning a pet for the elderly. One is interacting with the pet itself. For those who are living alone especially, an animal provides a constant companion that lives entirely in the present. This can help retirees feel more grounded in the present too. There’s also the social element of caring for the pet, whether that means walking a dog, taking a cat to the groomer, or just the social interaction provided by going to buy food and pet supplies regularly. Don’t discount these small wins as they can be big improvements in quality of life. 

What Pets are Best for Older Individuals?

Of course, a pet is not a cure-all for bad habits, and should not be thought of just as a tool to achieve these benefits. You should only adopt a pet if you are willing to disrupt your lifestyle for a time to learn how to live with them and give them a great, healthy life. What that means for each animal is different.

Dogs will be loyal, playful, and cheerful, but require some of the most maintenance of the pet world. You could consider adopting an older, well-trained dog versus welcoming the total chaos (and mess) of a puppy.

Cats are cuddly and don’t require lots of maintenance at all, except daily playtime to get out their energy. Even a young kitten can be a great companion.

Birds are beautiful and easy to care for in their cages, and when handled regularly become affectionate and friendly. With their wings trimmed every so often, you won’t have to worry about them flying away.

Rabbits are another pet that can thrive indoors, and even use a litter box. Like cats, some may be friendlier than others.

An animal companion can be an exciting fresh start during a phase of life where it seems like everything is changing too much. Interacting with your animal will bring all the benefits listed here, and your pet’s unique personality will give you even more reward once you get to know each other.

Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance? Selling an unwanted life insurance policy is no different than selling your car, home or any other valuable asset that will create immediate cash. Contact us today to learn more.

Leo LaGrotte
Life Settlement Advisors
llagrotte@lsa-llc.com
1-888-849-0887

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *