Ever since your dad passed away, your elderly mother has not been herself. Mom stopped going out with her friends, and you can tell she’s not eating like she should and displaying signs of depression. Now you’re concerned that mom’s declining health has reached the point it’s beginning to threaten her at-home independence. Have you considered getting her a pet? Numerous studies have shown the many rewards of pet ownership for seniors, including those with memory loss. Here’s how to decide if getting a pet is the right move for your parent.

The Many Ways Pets Benefit Seniors

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA; www.aspca.org) has identified several animal species as good companions for the elderly, including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, small reptiles and fish. When considering a pet for a senior, here are some of the documented benefits that it could provide:

Is a Pet Right for Your Parent?

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