Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure Caring for pets can cure seniors’ boredom, loneliness

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on April 10, 2021 with No Comments

Pets are more popular than ever.  During the pandemic, stay-at-home families and others adopted pets in record numbers.  Why?  Because pets are a great cure for loneliness.  When they have a pet, families stuck at home for weeks and months are better able to cope with their lack of interaction with others and the boredom and loneliness that result from this.

Seniors, of course, suffer from a lack of social interaction, too.  They may be lonely because their family doesn’t live nearby, and friends have been lost though death.  Thus, their friends and family connections are growing smaller with age and they tend to spend more time at home alone.

Many seniors don’t realize that pets are sources of unlimited love and companionship. However, dogs and cats can’t do things for themselves.  They need to be fed, watered, let outside to poop and pee (except for cats which usually have a cat litter box), and need space to get exercise.

Generally, it is good to take dogs for walks which are good for both you and the dog.  Often, dogs and cats will learn to let you know what they want. Going to their dish may suggest they are hungry and going to the door might means they want to go out to poop or pee or they want a walk.  Also, dogs and cats thrive on attention, especially when you come home from somewhere.  Some even want to sleep with their master or mistress.  Most people with pets consider them to be loved family members.

Of course, there are many types of pets, with some being more appropriate than others.  They range from dogs and cats to fish and birds.  In this article we will talk only about dogs and cats, because they provide the most in the way of companionship.

Dogs are often considered “man’s best friend,” since they are generally affectionate and known to give unconditional love.  Cats are a little less needy and can be a little independent, but maybe more interesting because of their personalities.  Both make excellent pets because of the companionship they provide.

However, if you have never had a pet, you will need to learn how to take care of them.  They need continuous attention, which gives you parental-type responsibility.  That responsibility is a great cure for boredom and loneliness.  Pets also may limit your ability to travel, unless you use a kennel for times you are gone.  Dogs don’t fare well when left alone, so if you are gone a lot during the day, you might need a sitter for your dog or a second dog to keep your dog company.  Cats do well even when they have long periods of isolation, so they don’t require as much company.  Also, a cat will initiate contact with the owner more often than dogs will.

Rescue dogs and cats are especially appropriate for seniors.  These are animals that had to be given up because their owners had to move to another city, they moved into a retirement home, or maybe they passed away.   Rescue animals are like children.  They keep you company, make you laugh, and fill your time.  You only have to learn how to take care of them.  Rescued animals are usually well trained and often can let you know what they want.

In a short time, you will find your new friend to be indispensable and an effective cure for loneliness, boredom and the need for companionship.

 

 

 

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About Bill Leavitt

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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