Peter Yurek with dog

“Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” — George Eliot

Whether you grew up with them or not, I am sure you have witnessed that pets are loyal companions, providing a sense of purpose, and routine. In my observation, aging in place with pets offers several benefits:

  • Physical Activity: dog owners in particular benefit from increased physical activity. Outdoor playtime with a dog boosts cardiovascular health, flexibility and your overall well-being.
  • Increased quality of life: pets offer substantial emotional and mental health benefits. Their unconditional love and companionship alleviate possible feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
  • Social interactions: pets increase healthy social interactions as you spark conversations with fellow pet owners. This offers opportunities for socializing and building community.
  • Mental health benefits: spending time with pets can improve cognitive abilities thus lowering the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Caring for a pet enhances your memory, concentration and overall mental health.

Pet attachment provides an overall sense of purpose for those aging in place. A furry companion’s unwavering love and affection can significantly enhance your emotional well-being and increase you overall quality for life.  Undoubtedly you know that caring for a pet involves a lot of responsibility. Here are several other considerations when aging in place with pets:

  • Veterinary Care & Pet Care Costs: Budgeting for pet expenses is essential to ensuring proper animal welfare.  Please plan for the cost of veterinary checkups, food and other necessities to avoid undue financial strain.
  • Condominium and Apartment Restrictions: Not all facilities allow pets. This can result in pet displacement and emotional strain you and your pet during transition.
  • Physical Limitations: You should determine if you can physically keep up with your pet. Dogs require regular exercise, cats and other small animals require regular cleaning (litter boxes, cages, fish tanks, etc.)
  • Allergies: someone with allergies cannot care for long haired animals. Cats and dogs may produce more dander which can trigger an allergic reaction.

With proper planning and support, you and your pets can enjoy each other’s company safely and live happily and healthy at home together.  I am an advocate of aging in place — and it’s better with pets.

By Peter Yurek, BSc.Phm.