Adopting a dog can be a fantastic way for your aging parent to experience better health and well-being as they age. Many studies have demonstrated the exceptional benefits of pet ownership for elderly adults, including lower stress, lower blood pressure, reducing depression and anxiety, helping to get more exercise, and more. As a family caregiver, you know how valuable these benefits can be for your parent and their ongoing health and well-being, but it is very important to make sure your senior is capable of caring for a dog they adopt.
Evaluating your senior’s abilities can help you determine if they would be able to take care of their own pet, or if they should get the benefits of spending time with animals by visiting with your pet, or a volunteer therapy dog.
Some things to keep in mind when considering whether you’re aging loved one can take care of an adopted dog include:
- Do they have the physical ability to walk a dog? Do they struggle with mobility issues or balance problems that might make walking a dog dangerous, or dexterity problems that might stop them from being able to put a collar or leash on a dog?
- Does your parent have the ability to feed and water the dog? Can they lift a container of food, and bend enough to make the food and water accessible?
- Do they have the energy to play with a dog, or pay attention to it regularly?
- Do they have the patience and emotional capability of managing another living creature in their home, particularly in the sometimes difficult “settling in” time?
- Can your parent remember to manage care tasks for their dog?
If you are concerned about your parent’s ability to safely and effectively care for a dog, but it is something they are interested in, consider making this pet a part of their regular care. Include taking care of the pet as a part of your care efforts, provide reminders for your parent, and encourage homecare for your loved one, which can offer reminders and support for the highest quality of life for your loved one.
Living an active and satisfying lifestyle is not something that stops being appealing simply because a person gets older. Challenges, limitations, and health problems can make it difficult, however, for your senior to pursue this type of lifestyle as they get older. As their family caregiver, it is important for you to find ways to help them maintain not only their independence, but also their positive outlook and sense of fulfillment throughout their later years.
Starting homecare for them can be a fantastic way to help reach this goal. The highly customized services of a homecare services provider are specifically designed to meet your seniors need, and address them as a whole individual. This means their care will focus not just on their challenges and needs, but also on their personality, goals, preferences, and lifestyle.