Should My Elderly Loved One Get a Pet?

By 9  am on
  Pet ownership offers a wealth of benefits for seniors. Studies show in addition to receiving companionship, seniors who own pets enjoy enhanced mood, lower blood pressure, decreased incidences of depression and loneliness, and more motivation to carry out daily tasks. However, it’s important to find a pet that matches your elderly loved one’s abilities and lifestyle. Here are a few things families should consider before moving forward with pet adoption.

Assessing Your Loved One’s Limitations

It’s extremely important to consider your loved one’s physical abilities when thinking about pet adoption. For instance, your loved one may be a true dog lover, but if he or she has decreased mobility, walking the pet may be an impediment to dog ownership. When this is the case, another animal such as a cat may be a better choice. Families should also consider their loved ones’ financial stability. Many seniors are living on fixed incomes and have a number of monthly expenses that can range from mortgages to electricity and water bills. Make certain your loved one is able to financially support a pet on top of other expenses, and consider the cost of regular pet exams, emergency pet care, pet food, and other necessities. Seniors who need help caring for pets and looking after their own health can benefit from professional in-home care. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Choosing a Pet of the Right Age & Temperament

When selecting a pet for an elderly person, choose an animal that isn’t too young or too old. Puppies and kittens can be irresistible, but they require training that may be too much for a senior to handle. Older pets, on the other hand, may have health problems and be difficult or expensive to care for over the long term. It’s also important to consider the temperament and breed of the animal, especially in the case of dogs. Certain breeds are naturally more energetic than others, and it’s important to select a pet your loved one will be able to manage independently. Do your due diligence and research different types of animals before moving forward with the adoption process. Owning a pet is just one of the many ways seniors can enjoy socialization and prevent isolation. For families living in Cedar Falls, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Testing Your Loved One’s Comfort Level

As mentioned above, pets can display a wide range of temperaments, and it’s possible you could select a particular animal that winds up not being a good match for your loved one. To avoid this, visit local pet stores and animal shelters, and let your loved one interact with the pets to make sure he or she is comfortable. In some cases, pet ownership sounds like a great idea for a senior but he or she becomes overwhelmed when faced with the reality of caring for an animal. Some pet stores and shelters will even allow your loved one to take their animals for short walks, which is a great way to get your loved one acclimated. Although owning a pet provides a variety of benefits, some seniors have serious medical issues that prohibit them from being able to care for companion animals. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Cedar Falls Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 319-260-2222.

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