Infographic: Top Three Benefits Pets Provide to Seniors

As the U.S. population ages, many of us are noticing shifts in the lives and lifestyles of our grandparents, parents, relatives and friends who are older Americans.

This reality is part of a broad U.S. population shift that’s underway:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is forecast to reach close to 50 million by 2015. reports that, for the next 20 years, more than 70 million boomers will retire. And people aged 85 and older are forecast to reach 19 million by 2050.

These population estimates overshadow the ASPCA’s reports that more than seven million companion animals enter animal shelters in the U.S. every year (including more than three million dogs and over three million cats).

With that in mind, I remind you that the millions of adoptable four-legged friends present a number of life-enhancing positives for seniors.

As shown in the infographic from Bay Alarm Medical (below), this includes health, social and safety benefits.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.55.47 AM

In honor of National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, I also remind you that senior pets make great companions for people of all ages, including seniors. (For the top reasons, see my previous post and this post from PAWS.)

For tips on dog breeds that are especially well suited for seniors, vetSTREET offers tips and suggestions here, and the American Humane Association suggests a number of reasons cats make wonderful companions for seniors here.

To demonstrate the potential bond between seniors and senior pets, just look at this image I found on Pinterest (from LOLSnaps). I think it speaks volumes.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.59.15 AM

How have pets enhanced the lives of the older Americans you know?