A happy pet leads to a happy home.
There are many reasons why seniors love their pets. They make great companions, lower stress levels, and even lead to a happier, healthier life. But caring for their pets properly can be tough for seniors who may not have help.
So, here’s what you can do to help your loved one’s care for their beloved pets.
1. Start with the Right Pets
Choosing the right pet is important for seniors. Start by considering what type of pet would make the most sense. Dogs make great pets. With their energetic and playful demeanor, they can definitely put a smile on their owner’s faces. Just keep in mind the amount of exercise a dog needs and if it would be a good fit for your loved one. Cats are also a great choice for seniors. Being low maintenance and delicate, cats are perfect for seniors who might not want all the responsibility that comes with owning a dog. Also, don’t forget that aquariums make a great addition to any senior’s home!
2. Set Up the Home, & Get the Right Supplies
Once you’ve chosen the right pet, you’ll need to make sure the home environment is right. That means cleaning, decluttering, and setting up proper areas for your pet. Think about making things as easy as possible. For example, elevating food bowls or litter boxes will reduce the need to bend down to clean the litter box, or refill the pet’s food and water bowls.
Next, be sure to set your loved one up with all the right supplies. It starts with the big things like food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and toys and grooming supplies. Consider any medications and other less-obvious supplies that their pet might need.Also, since pet care can be a little pricey for seniors on a fixed income, consider finding a local aid organization that might help ease those costs a bit.
3. Create a Routine
Caring for any pet properly involves setting up a good daily routine to ensure feeding, exercise, play, and downtime together. But don’t forget about vet visits, giving medications, and good hygiene. It never hurts to write these things on the calendar far in advance!
This also gives seniors the ability to stay active in their pet’s care. Having an active routine that they can follow; it helps maintain independence and feelings of purpose.
4. Make Sure Help Is Available
Be sure to make a plan for your senior’s pet care in case they go on vacation or get sick. It’s easy to think you’ll always be available to pitch in, but you should line up other friends or family members just in case. Plus, in a pinch, you could always call in a professional pet care service—just keep in mind they may require a certain amount of notice or an orientation visit to get started.
5. Check-In, & Plan Ahead
Touch base with your loved ones and their pets frequently, and stop by when you can to see how things are going. Even though it might be difficult to consider, there will come a time when they can no longer care for their pet properly. It’s important to have a plan to know who will take over care of their furry friend when the time comes and set up planned visits for your loved one to see their beloved pet.
Most of all, focus on making sure your loved one is set up to enjoy their pets as much as possible. That’s what it’s all about!
Drake, Samantha (2018) How to Help Older Family Members Keep Their Pets Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-help-older-family-members-keep-their-pets
Petcentric (2018) Helping Seniors with Their Pets Retrieved from https://www.petcentric.com/articles/care-and-grooming/helping-seniors-with-their-pets/