For many of us, pets are part of our family and bring gratification to our lives. This can be especially true for seniors. According to a study from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, three out of ten seniors are lonely, and that number jumps up to six in ten for those who live alone. Pets are one way older adults can overcome social isolation and find companionship, but they also come with added responsibilities. This guide can help you or your loved ones understand the benefits of pet ownership and tips on how to best care for them.
Benefits of Pets
Studies have proven that older adults receive many benefits from adding a pet to their households. In a survey from the University of Michigan, 88% of seniors with pets said their pets help them enjoy life and 79% said their pet helped them feel less stressed.
In addition to companionship, pets give older adults responsibilities and purpose. Having daily objectives are important for seniors as it can help them stay healthier longer. Regular activities such as feeding and exercise give seniors a routine and help them stay active. Pets can also provide opportunities for them to connect with others.
Tips for Care
As anyone who has pets can attest, they can also be a lot of work. The University of Michigan study reported that one in four pet owners prioritized their pet’s needs over their own. Therefore, it’s important to make sure pets add more value than burden to your life. Here are a few tips to make caring for a pet easier:
- Utilize Automatic Feeders – Providing fresh food and water can be difficult for those with memory issues. Automatic feeders and water dispensers are great tools to ensure pets have access regularly.
- Ask for Assistance – Everyday activities, such as lifting heavy bags of food, changing out litter, or cleaning a cage/kennel, can put you in risk of injury. Consider asking for assistance for activities that involve carrying heavy objects or bending down frequently.
- Use Pet Service Companies – At some point, you might not able to care for all of your pet’s needs. Companies such as Rover or Wag can provide services such as exercise or grooming so your pet can remain in your home.
- Create a Pet Estate Plan – It is important to include pets in your end-of-life planning. Appoint a guardian for your pet to ensure they continue to receive care if their owner is unable to.
CareAparent is here to help when you need it most.
When a loved one is in hospice, CareAparent can provide additional support for pets so you and your family can focus on the important things. Our caregivers can exercise, provide fresh food and water, and change litter for your furry friends. To learn more about how our caregivers can help your loved ones in hospice, please call us at 651.702.HOME (4663) or visit CareAparent.com/Hospice-Support.
More information on pet ownership for seniors: