Is Having a Pet a Safe Option for an Elderly Person Who Lives at Home?
Having a pet at home can bring love and joy into the life of pretty much anyone who has one, not to mention they have added benefits like encouraging physical activity and providing their owners with a sense of purpose. Studies show there are ample advantages for seniors who have a pet at home, including improved mood, increased motor skills, lower blood pressure, and companionship. However, not every elderly adult is suited to have a pet in their home especially if they are unable to meet the pet’s needs or if the challenges of proper care become too much for seniors with cognitive or physical limitations.
5 Signs Your Loved One Shouldn’t Have a Pet Anymore
Some of the signs that it’s time for your senior friend or family member to seek alternative pet care options include:
1.The pet looks unkempt or thin: Pets who lose weight in a short period of time, may indicate that they’re not being fed properly, or it could indicate illness. Check with the pet’s veterinarian if you’re concerned.
2.The home smells like pet waste: If the space where the pet resides smells like urine or feces, indicates that your friend or family member isn’t letting their dog out enough or cleaning their cat’s litter box often enough.
3.The elderly adult seems forgetful: If you notice that your loved one isn’t taking care of themselves or has difficulty completing everyday activities, it may be a good idea into checking whether their pet is being taken care of adequately.
4.Your loved one has mobility challenges: Advanced age often leads to progressive mobility challenges. Pet ownership means the owner must be able to perform tasks like walking a dog, changing their cat’s litter box, as well as making sure the pet isn’t being neglected in any other way.
5.They lack the funds to afford a pet: Being a pet owner is typically a large expense between buying food, toys, supplies, and taking them to the vet. Many older adults worry about paying for their own medication and doctor’s visits, so it’s important to determine whether your loved one has the disposable income to cover their pet’s needs.
Why it’s a Good Idea to Prepare for Rehoming Pets Well in Advance
If a medical emergency occurs and new living arrangements need to be made it can be stressful trying to rehome your loved one’s pet. You can avoid this by asking your elderly loved one to include their pet in their estate plan as well as including a guardian or sufficient money to pay for the pet’s future vet bills and expenses. By planning ahead, your loved one can ensure that their pet will have a proper, loving home and avoid the need to rehome the animal.
How to Help an Elderly Loved One Who Loves Animals Cope Without a Pet in the Home
Older adults can still interact with animals even if they don’t have their own pet. For example, it can help lift their mood to interact with a family member’s pet, or they can set up in-home pet therapy visits. Older adults who are still relatively able-bodied, may consider volunteering at an animal shelter for an opportunity to get out of the house and be around animals.
Interested in learning more about how elderly adults can thrive by aging in place with the help of in-home caregivers like ours from At Home Healthcare? Contact us today to request home care in Texas by calling (877) 959-9093.