Research documents the positive correlation between pet ownership and the benefits provided to seniors, both physically and mentally. With this in mind, many family caregivers are quick to pay a visit to the local pet shop. While intentions may be good, there are several things that must be taken into consideration before adopting a pet for an aging loved one.
- An Easily Overlooked Safety Hazard – Cats and dogs can make great pets for seniors. However, they can also be a source of a trip or fall. For example, the senior with limited mobility or visual problems can easily trip over a cat that likes to rub the ankles or the dog that likes to stay at the feet.
- Anticipated Care and Maintenance – Caring for a pet can be a source of physical activity for seniors, and can even provide them with a sense of purpose. However, this only proves true when the pet’s care routine is manageable. Depending on the pet chosen, required care activities may be overwhelming and exhausting for a senior. Rushing to adopt a pet that does not match the abilities of the senior is a common mistake made by families. For example, adopting a puppy for a senior who may suffer from arthritis, back pain or limited mobility will likely be a poor choice as the young dog will need excessive exercise, training and attention.
- Increased Financial Responsibility – Caring for a pet will increase financial responsibility and some pets will require more than others. Say for example, the caregiver finds a small dog that does not require a lot of care and will provide fun, companionship and physical activity for the senior. While this sounds great, depending on the breed, it may require professional grooming on a routine basis. Figuring in costs for grooming and other items like food, toys and medical needs can add up quickly.
As a leading provider of in-home care in Naples, we’ve found that there is not one specific pet that is best for all seniors. However, adopting the wrong pet can easily become a source of stress for the senior and the caregiver so families should focus on the selection process before making a rash decision.
If you are thinking about adopting a pet for your aging parent or loved one but are concerned they may not be able to handle the responsibility alone, contact Home Care Assistance of Naples today. We provide hourly and live-in care in Naples and offer complimentary in-home consultations to help determine the care needs of seniors at home. To schedule a consultation with a Care Manager, simply dial 239-449-4701.