Just about everyone has, at some point in their life, owned a pet. It may have been a dog, cat, bird, fish, or one of the many other animal species. Hopefully, you have many good memories of that pet, and they still occupy a warm spot in your heart.
If you’ve ever seen a senior light up when interacting with a dog or cat, you’ve been part of a special moment. Most seniors love the wagging tail and bright eyes of a puppy or the purring and soft fur of a kitten.
Have you been considering getting a pet for your senior parent? Have they brought up the topic to you and are interested in having a fur-baby? Is it a good idea at this stage of their life? Let’s explore why studies show that it is beneficial for seniors to have a pet and consider a few things before you accommodate them.
Pets Benefit Seniors In a Variety of Ways
Numerous studies have documented that there are quite a few benefits that seniors who own a pet enjoy. They include:
- Relief from depression
- Stress reduction
- Meet new people and make new friends
- Exposes them to new interests
- Protection (if they have a larger dog)
- Feel loved and needed
Looking over these benefits, you may be nodding your head in agreement and at the same time be asking yourself, “I see the benefits, but will it work for MY parent?” Good question – read on.
5 Questions to Ask When Considering Getting a Pet For Your Senior Parent
Let’s answer your question with a question, five of them, in fact. Answering these five questions will help you decide if it’s a good idea to get your loved one a pet.
- Does Mom or Dad have any disabilities or functional limitations? If they do, it’s not a deal-killer, but it can affect the type of pet you get. For example, a dog, and the walking that accompanies one, probably isn’t ideal for a parent with mobility issues, but a bird or fish might be perfect for them. Considering their physical capabilities is essential.
- What age pet would be best? For an aging adult, energetic puppies and kittens can sometimes be a bit too much because of the amount of care and attention they require. An older pet may be a better choice, especially one that is already trained. Birds also have exceptionally long life spans.
- Are finances an issue? The cost of owning a pet can add up, especially for dogs and cats. Toys, beds, bowls, collars, and leashes are reasonable startup costs, but vet bills for annual exams and shots can cost hundreds of dollars per year. A senior’s budget needs to be carefully considered.
- Is there a backup plan for the pet? What if your parent needs to go into the hospital, spend time at a short-term rehab facility, move to a long-term care community, or passes away? Who will care for the pet? Lots of challenging questions that must be answered.
- How set in their ways is your parent? A new pet means a new routine, which can be highly stressful to some seniors. How do you think your parent will adjust to having a new friend to take care of?
You’ve seen some excellent benefits that your parent can enjoy by having a pet and have been given some questions to serve as food for thought. Getting a pet has long-term effects on any owner; the input of your senior parent should be taken into account.
Dependable Senior Care Can Help Your Loved One
Dependable Senior Care helps many families, with or without pets, in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade. Our compassionate home care aides are dedicated to keeping your loved one safe, in the place they love best – home.
Contact us today, and let’s talk about putting together a care plan for your senior. There’s no cost for the visit. We’d love to become part of your extended family and are committed to continually exceeding your expectations.