The joys and benefits of senior pet ownership are nearly endless. Animals have been shown to help reduce stress, increase physical activity, and improve social interaction, especially for the elderly. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that pets offer several health benefits including lower blood pressure. Companionship becomes increasingly important as we age, but getting out of the house to meet friends and family can be difficult. If this is the case, introducing an animal to your home can be a wonderful idea. 


When it comes to adopting a pet into a senior-centric home, it can be difficult to know which companion to choose. Below, you will find four low maintenance but highly sociable pets to consider if you’re trying to expand your household. 


Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs are funny little animals. While easy to take care of, they are highly active and social creatures, making them an excellent pet for those who want to expend little effort for a high reward. Most people who own hermit crabs end up buying two or more of the little crustaceans, as they thrive in social settings and can be incredibly fun to watch. When properly cared for, hermit crabs can live for up to 30 years. Care includes daily misting, enough sand to dig in, rocks to climb, and places to hide. 



Hamsters can be a great addition to a senior household. They are fun, active, and low maintenance. Hamsters can easily entertain themselves when provided a variety of toys, and they don’t need any companions of the same species. While they will need their cages cleaned regularly, this type of routine can be especially helpful to seniors. Hamsters are usually nocturnal, which means they may be asleep for most of the day. However, if you like to get up early in the morning, you’ll greet your day with a fuzzy little friend. 



Ferrets are affectionate, energetic, and intelligent pets. A lot like cats, these animals are independent and curious. When trained properly, ferrets are extremely loyal and low maintenance, making them an excellent addition to your senior family. They typically live for between 6 and 13 years, require an annual veterinary check-up, and can eat most foods that have a high meat protein content. Importantly, they don’t need to be walked or taken outside, which makes them a good choice for seniors with limited mobility. If you’re looking for a smart, funny, and independent animal, a ferret is an excellent option. 



Cats can be extremely social, intelligent, and affectionate animals. They come in a range of sizes, personalities, and temperaments, making them a wonderfully versatile addition. Crucially, cats are often very independent, which means they will not need the constant care a dog or hedgehog requires. If something happens – an impromptu trip, an emergency doctor’s visit, or a sudden change in lifestyle – cats will fare very well.



You want to consider your activity and fitness level when deciding which pet to be a companion. Dogs can keep seniors active and engaged in their communities, but they also require a lot more physical strength and endurance. Some smaller dog breeds are better known than others for thriving with a sedentary lifestyle. By contrast, a hermit crab needs almost no care, but you won’t reap the same social and emotional rewards. Finding a balance is crucial. 


Other Considerations for Senior Pet Selection

When thinking about pet possibilities, you’ll want to reflect on your lifestyle and daily routine. You should also think about travel options with a pet, especially if you have family in other parts of the country or if you ride public transportation a lot. 


While most airline pet policies are friendly to service and emotional support dogs, some breeds don’t fare well on planes or are banned outright. Larger dogs will have to fly in the cargo hold; smaller dogs can travel in the cabin. Amtrak trains, Greyhound buses, and many types of public transit have generous pet transportation policies but may require pets to stay inside a travel carrier. 


No matter which animal you choose, adopting a pet as a senior can be a life-changing experience. If you’re thinking seriously about getting a pet, consider your ability, travel likelihood, and budget, then talk to an experienced veterinarian about the best pet for your lifestyle. 


The 1980s had us doing Jazzercise, the 2000s got us started in CrossFit, and ancient India brought us the postural yoga that we’ve been enjoying in the West for over a century. Yoga has evolved into a modernized fitness program that combines physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. It has become a timeless practice that comes with many more benefits than exercise alone. Every senior should find an exercise program that keeps you healthy well into your golden years, and yoga happens to be a great fit because of how gentle it is on your body.


If you find yourself frustrated with the difficulty of other exercises, prone to back or knee injuries, or unmotivated to get moving, then it might be time to try yoga.


Why Do Yoga?


Besides being a good cardiovascular workout, yoga tones your muscles and helps restore muscle loss that typically accompanies the aging process. Yoga provides joint strength and balance, which can be crucial for preventing spills and falls in older adults. Yoga supports heart health and weight management to keep you living longer and healthier. 


Yoga is more than just a physical form of exercise. The mental and spiritual benefits of this practice are plentiful. With the meditative element in yoga, you’ll be practicing breathing techniques that can help calm you through life’s frenzy. The overall relaxing effect of yoga relieves stress and balances your mental state. When you meditate during yoga, you’re able to find spiritual peace that centers you and increases your mindfulness so that you can be present.


How to Start Yoga?


The best way to start yoga is to buy a mat and join a beginner class. You can find videos online to follow along, but an in-person class can teach you the basic poses, and an instructor can help you keep your body properly aligned. Online programs may not provide that level of instruction.


If you have the right health insurance plan, you might be covered for yoga classes. Some private insurance companies provide access to fitness and wellness programs as part of your coverage. If you’re not sure what plan is best for you, compare HMO and PPO plans online to decide which one is most suitable and affordable.


Where to Do Yoga?


Yoga has exploded in popularity over the past few decades, so classes are everywhere: gyms, yoga studios, beaches, parks, and senior centers. It might be best to start with a class that’s designed for seniors and their sensitive needs. Check in your area to see what’s available for your age group. A senior yoga class will be gentle enough to avoid injury, and you’ll have the added benefit of socializing with your peers. If you’re already past a beginner level, then you might do just fine in a studio class with other experienced yogis.


Once you understand the basics, you can practice yoga at home by following a tutorial or a video. The benefit of doing yoga at home is being able to meditate in a quiet, intimate space and being able to go at your own pace.


Which Yoga?


If you’re a beginner, start light by doing low-impact chair yoga, practicing easy Hatha poses, or meditating in Kundalini yoga. If you have somewhat of a delicate physical state, avoid intense sessions like Bikram or Ashtanga yoga unless you’ve been practicing yoga for a long time already.


Your style of practice depends on why you’re doing it: Is it to get into shape, to improve your moods, or to find balance in your physical and mental states? Athletes might be looking to supplement their usual exercise routines or perform active recovery. Sedentary seniors might be looking for a way to stay healthy or reverse health problems. Many of you might be somewhere in between: already engaged in light exercise but looking to change up your routine in a safe and healthy way. Whatever is piquing your interest in yoga, let it be a motivator to help you get on track for a healthy body, mind, and spirit.


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