It is hard to find a person who doesn’t love pets. Pets can be great companions and friends, and taking care of them can give your life even more meaning. Pets don’t want anything from us but our love and care, and in return, they love us unconditionally.
As a caregiver, you might have noticed that your aging loved one has been a bit listless or sad recently, and you are looking for some way to make them feel more engaged in and excited about life. With April being National Pet Month, this is the perfect time to think about adopting a pet for you senior!
The type of pet you adopt depends on your loved one’s specific capabilities and needs. Some things you need to keep in mind are:
• How capable is my loved one of taking good care of this pet on his or her own?
• Will I or someone else be acting as the main caregiver of the pet?
• How much time would I and my senior like to devote to a pet?
• How friendly or interactive should the pet be?
If you are going to be doing most of the caregiving for the pet, but you already know that you don’t have much free time for walks or cleaning up poo in the backyard, then a dog might not be for you. But if your senior is in relatively good health, and can remember to feed it once a day, a cat might be a good companion instead.
There are also other alternatives that don’t require as much hands-on care, such as fish or turtles. These can be great if your senior isn’t as capable of moving around or playing with the pet, as they can just watch them swim around in the tank.
Here is a list of pets that could be a good fit for your senior, along with the pros and cons of their care.
• Dogs – Dogs are arguably the most beloved pet of all time. They make terrific friends, and can thusly be a big comfort to seniors who adopt them. A dog will keep them company, and some dogs are even trained to help with medical issues. The only cons are that dogs need a lot of attention in order to stay happy, and that you have to find a dog with the right temperament for your loved one. If your loved one is relatively calm or unable to move around much, an overexcited Border Collie might not be the right pet for them!
• Cats – Cats are a bit calmer than dogs, but again, temperament is key. Sometimes cats can be standoffish, which can make the senior feel a bit left out, and sometimes those little claws really hurt if they scratch you! However, cats are also great cuddlers, and not usually as energetic as dogs, so they could be a good match for someone who has trouble moving around. The two can just sit together quietly and watch television!
• Birds – Birds are a fun pet for seniors, because they have beautiful colors, and it is a joy to watch them fly around. Some can even be taught to talk! Birds are actually very friendly, and can form close bonds to their owners. However, they tend to go to the bathroom a lot, so cleanup could be an issue!
• Fish – Fish are the perfect pets for someone who isn’t interested or isn’t able to put in a lot of time caring for and tending to a pet. They are pretty to watch, and they only need to be fed once a day or so, something that could become the highlight of an aging loved one’s day. Some of them, like Beta fish, are also very interactive, and form attachments to their owners, but unless you have a good filter system, regular, thorough cleaning of the tank is still required.
These are just a few of the options you have when choosing a pet for your senior. No matter what you choose, make sure that it is something that suits your loved one’s personality, and something that will bring them joy. If you choose correctly, that pet could soon become a part of the family!
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Greenville, SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116. Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.
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