Pets are great no matter what your age! But you need to be especially cognizant of those at very young or very old ages having pets. Pets provide great benefits for seniors such as companionship, routine, and a sense of purpose. But they can also be hard to manage if you have physical disabilities, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
Let’s go over the types of pets and how you can help a senior take care of their pet.
Types of Pets for Seniors
This really all depends on how much attention and care you can provide your pet. Pets like dogs will require regular walks, bathroom time, playing, and feeding. While cats and fish are generally independent and require minimal care like feeding and cleaning.
These cute little animals are becoming more and more popular as pets. They don’t require walks or going outside, and can be taken out to hold or play with and put back into a safe container. They’re great companions!
Cats are independent and, depending on the one you get, can be sociable or aloof. It’s important to find a cat with the right energy for their new owner. A kitten may be too much work for a senior with some limited physical ability, but an older cat may be just right. The main requirements are regular feedings and cleaning up the litter.
Dogs are on the end of the physical needs spectrum. They require going out at least 2-3 times per day no matter the weather. They also need lots of exercise and walking time. Dogs are great for seniors who still feel confident going out and being active. Try for an older pet, as puppies will require even more effort, not to mention training.
Fish are perfect for those seniors who want a little added routine to their life. The fish need regular feedings and cleanings, and are very easy to take care of.
How to Help Seniors Take Care of Pets
For seniors that currently have a pet, certain things that used to be easy to do may now become more difficult as they age. Regular morning walks may now be a struggle. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your pet.
- Figure out the need: Once you figure out exactly what the issue is (lack of walks, hard to bathe the pet?) you can find a solution. Try dog daycares, have someone in the neighborhood walk the dog or change the litter. Have a mobile groomer stop by.
- Get a vet that does house calls: This will make it easy for seniors who aren’t able to drive or don’t feel comfortable taking their pet in the car.
- Meals on Wheels: This program often offers free dog and cat food to seniors in the area. Check to see if your area does!
Don’t let age get in the way of having your little buddy around for as long as possible.