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Getting older and slowing down in life can bring with it a lot of stress and uncertainty. Your daily routine may change, you may give up work, lose a loved one or friends, and suddenly the landscape looks very different. You could start to feel lonely and directionless, and possibly find yourself sinking into a state of worry and misery. People try many different ways to keep busy and to ensure they remain positive, and one of the best is having a pet. A constant companion can make a huge difference when you’re facing big changes to your everyday life. Looking after a pet is a responsibility, of course, but there are countless benefits that come with having a little friend by your side.

Dealing With Loneliness

Feeling lonely can be a terrible experience at any point in life, but getting older seems to amplify this. No one wants to be lonely, and if you are worried you’re going to be, look into getting the right pet for your circumstances. Having a pet around – a cat, a budgie, even a fish – means you have focus and company, especially if you’ve lost a loved one or life partner. If you had a dog with your partner, it can act as an emotional tie to that person, which will undoubtedly lift your mood daily. “Even just waking up and having a pet to communicate with can improve your positivity and make you have a much better day. Your pet will take your mind off your loneliness and will be loyal to you no matter what, even in darker times”, says Linda Gould, a psychology writer at Academized and Paper Fellows.

Keeping Busy

Having something to focus on is incredibly important when you’ve retired or are slowing down, as your day is not so filled up with things to do. Looking after your pet, feeding and cleaning them, will take up time, keep you busy and help you to move forward. Not only this but caring for your pet will keep your mind from straying towards negative thoughts, which will make a huge difference to your mental health.

The Power Of Exercise

Hopefully you’ve been exercising all the way up to retirement and your older years because of the enormous health benefits exercise brings, but if not then a dog can kick you into gear. Taking your dog out for its daily walks will give you the exercise you need and will help to lower your blood pressure as well as lift your mood. Usually you’ll find other people walking their dogs too and this will inevitably lead to conversations with others. The endorphins produced by doing a bit of exercise, plus getting out and about where otherwise you might not, can only be a good thing.

Getting Out And About

On top of the exercise to help improve your joints, socializing with other people can prove invaluable. Whether you arrange to go out with a friend who also has a dog, or you bump into people at the park or on your route, human contact and interaction are vital for better wellness. You may even make new friends or begin a new romance thanks to walking your dog.

Managing Your Stress

It can be a stressful time as you get older and studies have shown that having a pet, specifically a dog, can help alleviate anxiety and reduce blood pressure. You want to enjoy your time later in life, not stress about anything and everything. “A pet may help to bring a sense of companionship, whether you are by yourself or in a relationship. It can even give couples a mutual interest they may have been lacking when they both had busy working lives. If you don’t feel you can take care of a dog or a cat, consider getting a budgie”, explains Roland Larson, a health blogger at State of Writing and Australian help. A bird may sit in its cage all day, but it will still be keeping you company and will respond to your attention. And budgies will remain by your side, as opposed to a cat or a dog that may wander off throughout the day.

So if you are looking for some companionship and a reason to get up in the morning, a pet could be the perfect solution. Our well-being is the most important asset we have – never neglect it.