The paw-fect companion: How adopting a senior pet can help you feel younger

Jan 14, 2024
Feeling the effects of an empty nest? Adopting a senior pet can help fill the void. Source: Getty

The notion of pets being humans’ best friends may have a lot more truth to it than realised, helping us live a happier, healthier and less lonely lifestyle, essential for a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.

Although the thought of being a pet owner can be daunting for some, an older, more settled pet can be a better fit for those in their senior years, rather than a puppy or kitten that demands more energy.

Jessica Curtis, PETstock Assist’s charity and events lead, says older pets can be far more suitable for retirees, as they are generally lower maintenance. “Adopted pets that are more settled can be the key to a perfectly balanced lifestyle, helping seniors maintain physical activity, routine and providing companionship,” she says.

If you’re considering welcoming a pet into your life, the following benefits of adopting may just be the deciding factor.


Once your children become adults and have families of their own, life can become somewhat lonely. Companionship is vital in supporting mental health and happiness and introducing a pet into your home can often fill that gap.

Starts at 60 contributor Sue Leighton explained how her pet canary helped her feel less lonely while living alone during lockdown last year, making her extremely grateful for her feathered friend.

As well as companionship within the home, pets are also a great way to connect socially, whether it’s at the dog park or in sharing images through social media. Pets are always a great conversation starter so, who knows, they might even be the cupid to a new friendship!

Exercise and movement

Living a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to your health and the same goes for pets, especially ones in their senior years. Staying active is vital to keeping your body feeling fit and nimble for years to come. And there is evidence that being more active with pets can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Older pets often don’t require the same amount of exercise as their younger counterparts, so they can be the perfect exercise partner to make sure you both get moving for 30 minutes each day.

Routine and sense of purpose

There’s no denying that keeping a routine can benefit our mental and physical health, but the reality is that they can be very easy to fall out of, especially when your schedule is no longer full.

Overseeing your pet’s health and safety forces you to keep up a routine in terms of feeding, exercising and caring for your pet. They need you more than you need them. Feeling needed can reinstate a sense of purpose or meaning, which ultimately benefits your mental health and overall quality of life.


Pets can offer more than just company, they can be humorous and cheeky, charming their owners with their unique quirks. Alongside unlimited entertainment, pets can provide their owners with stimulation.

Simultaneously, older pets need challenges to keep them healthy and mentally stimulated too. This can include teaching them tricks (even old dogs can learn new tricks!), exploring new places, talking to them, or simply buying them a new toy.

Pets and owners can work hand in hand to keep each other young at heart and full of life. For seniors looking to adopt a pet, visit for more information.

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