Studies show that there are a plethora of benefits to having a pet in the home. Animals provide companionship and humor where it otherwise may be lacking. However, dogs and cats, in particular, may also prove dangerous to an elderly loved one. There are many things to consider if your aging parent has a pet. Are they able to properly care for it? Is it beneficial or detrimental to their health in the long-run? This blog may provide some insight and offer some talking points for you and your loved one.
Benefits of a pet
There are proven health benefits to having a pet. All pets provide some form of companionship that could light up an otherwise lonely home. Additionally, they lower stress levels. Even a fish can provide entertainment for a loved one.
With this in mind, you should discuss exactly what they’re looking for if your loved one is considering a pet. A constant companion? They might want a dog. Canines can help an elderly loved one stay active and protect their home. However, dogs represent a significant time and energy commitment. If your parent has a difficult time moving around, a cat might be a better option. For a low-maintenance option, a beta fish could brighten any room by adding movement and a bit of company.
On the other hand, there are plenty of drawbacks to giving an aging parent a pet. Firstly, you’ll want to consider the age of the pet. For example, the endless energy of a puppy may be too much for a senior. However, an older cat or dog could prove to be a much more relaxed and manageable option. Secondly, between veterinary visits and food, pets can be a huge financial drain. Finally, if your loved one has problems moving around, dogs and cats could become a tripping hazard.
Things to consider
Consider whether your loved one is healthy enough to care for an animal. Would it be more beneficial to bring your own pet or another caregiver’s pet to visit? Talk with your parent about their health. Ask whether they’d like a pet, and if so, what kind? Talk about adoption options, benefits, and drawbacks. It may be difficult to be realistic about your parent’s health, but it’s imperative to gauge their well-being before bringing an animal into their lives.
In the end, if your loved one is of sound mind, the decision to have or keep a pet is up to them. Feel free to use the talking points in this blog when considering a furry friend for your parent. Though you may advise them, you should remember that it's ultimately their choice.