How to Find the Perfect Animal Companion for the Elderly

A pet can make the perfect animal companion for an older person, especially if they are feeling lonely. However, not everyone can care for a pet, and it’s not always suitable to bring an animal into any home. Before getting a pet for an elderly loved one, you need to think about a few important issues that can affect whether it’s the right decision. If you don’t choose the right pet, or you perhaps shouldn’t choose any pet at all, it could end in sadness for both the animal and your loved one. Here are some things that you should do first.

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How to Find the Perfect Animal Companion for the Elderly

Check with Your Loved One First

To begin with, be sure to discuss a potential pet with your loved one first. They might love the idea of getting a pet, but they might not be keen on it. They could enjoy the thought of a pet but have some specific requirements. It could also be that while they like the idea, in theory, the reality of owning a pet may not be right for them. That’s why it’s important to discuss getting a pet with them first, rather than simply springing an animal on them. They should have their say before anything happens.

It’s also worth checking in with them, especially in the case where they’ve had a pet before. The pet might have recently passed away and so they might appreciate something like pet cremation jewelry to remember them by. They might not want to simply replace their loved pet with another one so quickly, so always be cautious about buying a pet as a surprise gift. They might not appreciate it in the way you think they would, particularly in the case where they lost them. 

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Think About Living Arrangements

Living arrangements are important to consider whenever anybody gets a pet. Elderly people can live in a variety of different living environments, so you will need to consider this. Some people live in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or in their own homes. If they live somewhere like an assisted living accommodation, they will need to be somewhere that is pet-friendly. The practicalities are important to consider too. It might not be a good idea to have a dog when the owner lives in only a small apartment and doesn’t have much outdoor space.

sleepy dog

Consider the Level of Care of the Animal Companion

Different animals require different levels of care. Before buying a pet for an elderly loved one, you need to consider their capacity and willingness to provide care and attention. How much would they be able to exercise a dog? Are they willing to take care of a cat? You might want to look at which pets are best suited to their situation. Try looking at the breeds that make good dogs for senior citizens or look for a cat with the right temperament. You need to think about both ability and willingness, so talk to your loved one about how much they feel they can offer to a pet. Consider what help they might receive with pet care too.

Elderly walking her animal companion

Don’t Forget Costs

Pets are not a one-time purchase. They have ongoing costs, such as food, bedding, grooming, vet costs, insurance, and more. When choosing a pet, you need to think about what is affordable in terms of ongoing care. Some pets are more expensive to look after because of the diet they need, the health problems they might experience, or just the specialist care that they require.

Final Thoughts on Getting an Animal Companion…

Getting an animal companion for an older loved one can be a great thing to do, but don’t rush into it. It’s better to think about it carefully.

Finding the right companion for the elderly can be easy when you follow these tips.

About the author

I'm a mama to four and grandma to six. Yankee born with a love of the south. I love old-fashioned ways with modern thinking. I'm a homesteader, gardener, blogger. I enjoy “from scratch” cooking, consider myself a crafty do-it-yourselfer, and animal rescuer.

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