During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the 2019 form of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China and has caused the COVID-19 disease worldwide, there has been concern about protecting those with preexisting conditions, which will be many seniors. Though the risk is negligible in young people, since coronavirus is in the same family as the common cold anyone can carry it without being symptomatic and that means extra precaution is being taken regarding the elderly.

Yet social isolation can be harmful as well. If you've ever watched the television show "Alone", you know even the ablest survivalist can crack under actual isolation in the wilderness. And families may regard it as too risky to visit right now.

In 2019 Healthy Aging poll results, seniors reported that pets check off a few boxes. For example, 78 percent of dog owners said it helps them be physically active, 70 percent of all pet owners believe it helps them cope with emotional issues and 46 percent report pets help take their minds off of pain.

Even goldfish owners reported benefits, so if allergies or living conditions prohibit a dog there are options.

Taking a dog for a walk is still social distancing but is also healthy and other people will be out, but as always there are downsides. Some believe a pet limits their ability to travel - half of dog owners report that it limits their ability to travel.

Not everyone wants that kind of commitment. Of the non-pet-owners, 46 percent said they don't want to be locked into a care situation. And then 16 percent report allergic reactions as a reason not to own a pet while 23 percent cited cost.

Just like Easter is a terrible time to give a child a rabbit or a chick as a pet - the holiday thrill may fade but the commitment will endure - you shouldn't rush to saddle an older relative with a pet. They have been around this long, they know if they want a car or not by now.