Benefits of Companion Pets for Seniors

As older adults age, having a friendly face to see can brighten their day and enhance their quality of life, but did you know that it doesn’t always have to be a person? In fact, this friendly face they love to see might be full of fur, feathers or even scales!

Studies show that pets can benefit senior citizens in a number of ways, and this makes sense when you consider how often pets are used for therapy purposes. Discover the perks and benefits of being a pet owner below.

Enhanced Physical Health and Physical Activity

Depending on the type of pet you own, pet ownership can come with a range of physical health benefits, including:

Improved Mental Health

Can pets make you happier? According to many studies, the answer is a resounding yes! This is because pets provide:

  • Protection from loneliness and isolation
  • Stress relief
  • Decreased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Companionship
  • Increased mindfulness
  • A sense of purpose and routine
  • Enhanced social opportunities

A Boost in Brain Health

Enhanced physical and mental health from pets certainly has a positive impact on brain health, but there are even more benefits. Some of the most important, according to a recent study, include:

  • Increased brain activity
  • Enhanced brain stimulation
  • Lower risk of cognitive decline

There are far more benefits to pet ownership than are listed here, and we love knowing that our residents are able to explore them because we’re proud to be a pet-friendly community.

The best pets for seniors.

Are you able to care for a pet and are considering getting one? There are plenty of options for seniors. Check out some of these suggestions and enjoy the benefits of enhanced senior health, along with their affection!


Small dog breeds make some of the best pets and companions for older adults. Dogs, however, require more care and attention than other types of pets. Dog owners should be prepared to add daily walks and playtime to their routine. You may also experience some challenges with puppy training, chewing, housebreaking and more until you get into the groove of pet ownership. It’s a good idea to research some of the best breeds for seniors to learn which one might be the best fit for your particular situation.


Cats are lower maintenance than dogs, making them the perfect pet for those who want to have a companion who may not require as much training. Many cats and kittens will instinctively use a litter box without needing to be taught. Grab some toys, food dishes, litter boxes and treats, and you’re well on your way to a happy life with your new pet.


Love the idea of having a companion but prefer something much more low maintenance and even simpler to care for? A fish is a great option.

If you want many fish, however, you should consider a small aquarium. Make sure that all the types of fish you purchase will get along and are suitable for the type of environment you choose for your aquarium, i.e., saltwater or freshwater.

Guinea Pigs

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet that’s easy to care for and doesn’t require much space to live happily, you’ll get exactly that with a guinea pig. Guinea pigs are fun, cuddly, and form strong bonds with their owner. They come in a beautiful variety of colors and coat textures, and tend to be hearty without many health issues if they are well cared for.


Birds make great companions, can sing beautifully, and are fun to watch. If you are dealing with low mobility, a bird can be a good alternative to an animal that requires you to be more physically active.

Keep in mind!

Some senior living communities have restrictions about certain types of pets. Before making a decision on whether or not to get a pet, or to learn whether your pet will be welcome at your potential new home, contact the team. If you’re interested in pet therapy, check to see if your community of choice offers this as an option, as well.

We’re here to help.

For more information on how pets can be a good companion for seniors, contact our team. Or for more senior resources, visit our blog or attend an open house tour. We invite you to come and visit our pet-friendly senior living community in the heart of Wellesley.


Waterstone at Wellesley offers independent living and assisted living options in Wellesley, on the Bank of the Charles River. Schedule a visit today to experience our lifestyle and learn how we help seniors thrive.