Your senior parents have been talking about adopting a pet.
They’re not sure if they want a cat, dog, or both. You like the idea of them having a furry companion throughout the day and night, but you also know that being a pet owner is a huge responsibility.
Here is our pet ownership guide for older adults. Keep reading to learn more.
What Dogs and Cats Need
Cats can be a little more independent than a dog. An indoor cat needs a litter box that’s cleaned daily. It needs to be fed and provided with fresh water. It needs grooming like brushing and nails trimmed. A cat also needs you to pay attention to it and play with it.
Dogs need time outside for exercise and fun activities. They need food and water. They need their nails trimmed and groomed. Dogs also need time to go outside for bathroom breaks.
Both cats and dogs need yearly veterinary exams to check for parasites, health issues, and preventative health measures like vaccinations. If there’s an emergency, emergency veterinary care may also be needed and it can get expensive. For that reason, some people pay for pet insurance policies.
You Have to Talk About the “What Ifs…”
It’s hard but make sure your conversation covers “what if” situations. If your mom gets a new puppy and is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years from now, what happens when she can’t remember to care for it? Would she have people around throughout the day to remind her that she’s fed her dog already, not to feed her meal to the dog and that she just took her dog for a walk?
If your parent fell and broke a hip, would someone be around enough to clean a litter box, feed the cat, and take care of the cat’s needs? It could be weeks before your mom or dad are back up and to normal routines.
What would happen to his dog if your dad had a stroke and could no longer walk? Would someone need to take the dog or would enough people stop by each day to walk the dog, feed it, play with it, and make sure its veterinary care needs were met?
Have you considered having senior care aides help your parents?
If your parents want a pet for companionship, caregivers provide that companionship. If they have pets and struggle with pet care, caregivers can remind them if they’ve fed their cat or dog yet.
With cueing, your parents have someone gently helping them care for their pet. That assures you that your parents are taking proper care of their cat and/or dog and also have help with household tasks. Best of all, the senior care aide that stops by is there for companionship. Call to learn more.