Pet ownership offers a wealth of benefits to seniors and older adults. Along with companionship, studies show that seniors who own a pet enjoy enhanced mood, lower blood pressure, decreased incidences of depression and loneliness, and more motivation to carry out daily tasks. However, a pet isn’t the right fit for all seniors, and it’s important to find the pet that matches your loved one’s abilities and lifestyle. Caledon Home Care Assistance presents a few considerations that families should make before moving forward with pet adoption.
What are the Senior’s Limitations?
It is 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 one’s financial stability. Many seniors are living on a fixed income, and have a number of monthly expenses that can range from a mortgage to electricity and water bills. Make certain that your loved one is able to financially support a pet on top of their other expenses and consider the cost of regular pet exams, emergency pet care and pet food and other necessities.
Choosing a Pet at the Right Age & Temperament
When selecting a pet for an elderly person, the animal should generally not be too young or too old. Puppies and kittens can seem 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 in the long-term.
It is 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 that you select a breed that your loved one will be able to manage independently and will match with his or her personality. Do your due diligence and research different type of animals before moving forward with the adoption process.
Testing Your Loved One’s Comfort Level
As mentioned above, pets can display a wide range of temperaments, and it is possible that you select a particular animal that may wind 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 that 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 pets for short walks, a great way to help get your loved one acclimated.
Pet ownership is a great option for seniors when the certain precautions are taken. If you’re not ready to make the jump into adopting a pet for your loved one, provide him or her with companionship and support through a friendly caregiver from Home Care Assistance of Caledon. Our highly trained and compassionate caregivers can accompany your loved one on outings, share stories and can also assist with in-home tasks and activities. Call us today at 905-951-8885 and learn more about our options for hourly and 24 hour care for Caledon seniors.