One of the most heartbreaking downsides to aging is a growing sense of loneliness. People retire from their jobs, which causes the loss of a significant social center, and as they grow older, they watch as their peers pass away or move on to other parts of the world. Families grow, but they also become more splintered as sons and daughters take on the responsibilities of raising their own families, leaving less time to spend with the older generation. This is simply a fact of life in our society, but many seniors have been able to find meaningful companionship – and often an entirely new lease on life – through pet ownership.
Are you caring for a loved one who seems to be suffering from loneliness or a lack of companionship? Getting a pet is a wonderful idea! However, it’s important to follow some crucial pieces of advice to ensure that the relationship is beneficial for all involved.
Choosing the Right Animal
When selecting a pet, it’s important to choose a companion that meshes well with your aging loved one and their lifestyle. Are they physically active and outgoing? Perhaps a high-energy dog breed is most appropriate. Do they prefer quiet time without the need for constant affection? Cats are good for that! The point is to spend some time evaluating your loved one’s needs before making them responsible for the life of a pet.
Consider an Older Pet
On the subject of choosing the proper pet for your loved one, it might be a good idea to investigate the possibility of acquiring an older (more than seven years old) pet to ensure a better fit. As it turns out, high-energy puppies and kittens aren’t always the ideal choice, so these older animals represent a wonderful option. There may even be organizations in your community that match older pets with seniors. Do some investigating, and you could find the perfect pet for Mom or Dad!
Setting a Routine
Once a pet has been added to the family, establishing a routine is critical. Pets need to be fed and given water regularly. They also need exercise and play time, but they can’t do it by themselves. Make sure your senior loved one is ready for the routine and understands the needs of their new companion. A routine might seem daunting at first, but the structure that’s provided through the day-to-day care of a pet is often a huge benefit for seniors.
By Mike Lumbrazo
David Baim, Owner, Always Best Care Senior Services, Plymouth Meeting, PA (267) 217-7059 firstname.lastname@example.org