Parents who are becoming older and their pets
Some of you may be caring for elderly parents. Some of you could be getting close to that point with yours. Some of you may even have to contend with your parents' pet(s). Please continue reading if this is the case.
Pets, as we all know, can be wonderful companions. They love us completely, are always delighted to see us when we return home from a long day at work, make us laugh, and comfort us with their cuddles. They also demand our constant attention and care. This may not be possible for those who have mobility and memory issues. Following that, several pet-care solutions should be discussed. This situation could very well apply to your parents or a family member. As you might expect, having this kind of conversation with them will be difficult, even if they have realized that they require assistance in caring for their pet.
When will you realize you need to communicate with your parents or a loved one? Here are a few things to keep an eye out for, based on my personal observations and experience with my husband's aging parents, as well as a few things I learned from Celia Searles' study.
When you're trying to figure out if there's a problem, start with the pet. It's possible that the pet isn't being fed properly or that he's unwell if he's losing weight faster than usual. Of course, the inverse may be true. Perhaps the pet has gained a lot of weight as a result of being overfed.
If the pet lives indoors and the house starts to smell like pee, it's a good sign that the pet isn't getting enough exercise or that the litter box isn't being cleaned frequently enough.
Due to not being bathed or groomed on a regular basis, dogs will begin to look unkempt and smell "not-so-good." Your parents are likely to be aware of this. They are unable to do the grooming themselves or transport the pet to a groomer due to their mobility limitations.
If your parents have a pet on medicine, it is critical that the medication be administered exactly as directed. If this isn't the case, you should take action as soon as possible.
Another issue to consider is whether your loved ones are taking medicine. They may be fully unaware that they have dropped a pill on the floor when preparing their medications before or after a meal. Because most dogs will eat everything they find on the floor, this can be fatal to a pet.
It's also likely that your parents' pet isn't getting the attention it deserves because they've grown careless of themselves and their home. Due to eyesight issues or a lack of vitality, an older person may not realize how terrible things are going.
Because many indoor cats and dogs are let out during the day, an aged parent's forgetfulness could result in negative effects for the pet—especially if the pet is also senior. Temperatures that are either too hot or too cold can be dangerous to the pet.
Mobility issues, as previously mentioned, are a major worry when pets are involved—both for the dogs and for the elderly. The caretakers will be unable to properly care for their pets if they are unable to move around without assistance. For example, walking a dog may be impossible for them. Because many older individuals are clumsy on their feet, walking a dog on a leash might easily result in a serious fall. Furthermore, simple tasks such as bending over to fill a water bowl or placing food in an animal's dish may be difficult for them and/or create dizziness, which may result in a fall. Falls, as we all know, are dangerous at any age, but especially so in the elderly.
In some cases, your parents may have realized that they are unable to care for their pet and will be open to receiving assistance. It will be much easier to discuss the solutions that are accessible in that instance. The most important thing to remember is to be empathetic, whether or not they know that they require assistance. Above all, always be kind and never pass judgment. You'll need to reassure them that you only want the best for their animal family member.
Having said that, even if the final agreed-upon plan permits your parents to retain their pet at home with the assistance of people who come in on a daily basis, it would be prudent to add a directive in their estate planning that assigns a guardian for the animal in the event of their death. If no such guardian is named, there should be a plan in place to set aside enough money for boarding, vet bills, and any other costs associated with finding the animal a new home until the time comes for the animal to no longer be in their current home for whatever reason.
Because every situation is unique, each family will need to devise a strategy that meets their own requirements. Fortunately, there are various solutions accessible. Some of those alternatives will be presented in the following article, which will be published in May.