Aging Parents and Pets: How to Help with Their CareWellness | March 3, 2016
The bond between a person and a pet is strong, no matter your age. In fact, the older we get, the more a furry friend can help provide the unconditional love and companionship we crave. This is especially true when family lives a distance away or friends can no longer visit as often as they used to. However, what happens if your aging parent needs some assistance taking care of their pet? How can you help ensure the bond between your loved one and their four-legged companion stays strong?
The Benefits of Pets for Seniors
Many seniors report that they consider their pet a valued member of the family; they provide the social contact the elderly need to help reduce the loneliness that can come from being isolated in their homes. There are several other benefits pets offer to seniors. They:
- Contribute to overall health, helping lower blood pressure, stress, reducing heart rate, etc.
- Keep seniors maintaining a daily routine and bring purpose to their lives.
- Provide a way to stay socially engaged.
- Offer the physical contact seniors need.
- Present a coping ability to help them deal with losses or stressful situations.
- Improve physical and mental health.
Helping Seniors with their Pets
If you’re worried that your aging loved one might be having difficulty taking care of their pet in their home, there are a few ways you can help, even if you don’t live nearby:
- Hire a pet sitter. Hiring someone to check in on your parent’s pet allows them the opportunity to also monitor your loved one’s overall health and well-being. A pet sitter can help with tasks like walking and exercising the pet if mobility is an issue, or with grooming, feeding and administering medication if necessary.
- Send supplies via the internet. Some elderly people are on a pretty tight budget, so sending food and other supplies via sites like Amazon.com can be a big help to ensure the furry friend has everything it needs. Plus, your loved one won’t have to worry about hauling a 30-pound bag of dog food or 35-pound tub of litter too far, since they’ll be delivered right to the front door!
- Find a veterinarian that makes house calls. Some vets do make house calls, especially for people in need. Do some research for your loved one and find a vet that can stop by if there’s an emergency, or simply for the pet’s annual shots and checkup.
- Look into Pet Wheels on Meals in the area. Just like the service for humans, these Wheels on Meals programs deliver high-quality food, supplements and supplies right to your loved one’s door.
- Consider pet-friendly assisted living. Most seniors who own pets cannot bear the thought of parting with their furry friend, even when their health begins to decline. Luckily, today many senior living communities, including many American Senior Communities locations, are pet-friendly. When it’s time to consider moving to an assisted living community, look for a pet-friendly option.
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.