If your parent has a pet, their furry friend is probably very important to them. After all, a pet offers companionship and unconditional love.
Pets don’t care if the senior’s joints are creaky or even if their memory isn’t what it used to be. Pets are just happy to be with the person they love and who loves them back. While that certainly sounds like the perfect relationship, owning a pet can be problematic for older adults who have medical issues that make caring for a pet difficult. For example, seniors who have poor balance may not be able to take a dog outside for fear of falling. Does that mean your parent has to give up their beloved pet? Not if they have elder care. Elder care providers can assist with basic pet care so that your elderly parent can continue owning their pet and enjoying the company it provides.
Below are a few of the things elder care providers can do to assist your parent in keeping their pet.
Feeding the Pet
Pets, of course, need to eat every day. Bags of dog or cat food can be too heavy to lug from the store shelf to the cart and then into the house. An elder care provider can take the senior shopping and lift heavy pet food bags. Then, on their visits to the house, the elder care provider can assist with feeding the cat or dog by filling their bowl with the appropriate amount of food. They can also fill the water bowl. If your parent is capable of feeding the pet and enjoys doing so, but has cognitive problems that cause them to forget, an elder care provider can simply remind them and offer help if they need it.
Taking a Dog Outside or Cleaning a Litter Box
Dogs need to go outside to do their business and litter boxes need to be cleaned. Mobility problems can hinder an older adult’s ability to do those things. An elder care provider can let the dog out or take it outside on a leash. Or, if your parent has a cat, an elder care provider can clean the litter box as needed.
Even the healthiest pets need to see the veterinarian once in a while for a checkup. If your parent isn’t able to drive, they’ll need some help getting the pet to the vet’s office. An elder care provider can assist your parent to load the pet into the car and drive them to the veterinarian.