Happily, many seniors are well equipped to care for a pet. Having a pet in the home can provide wonderful companionship. There are other benefits, too. Some studies indicate that pet owners are healthier and less prone to depression.
However, some seniors underestimate the costs and care required. If the senior in your life expresses interest in a pet, here are some things to consider:
Owner’s Health. Seniors with memory or mobility issues may need to reconsider because these issues may inadvertently place loved pets in danger.
Exercise Needs. Dogs need daily walks and outdoor activity. Can your senior provide this consistently?
Budget. Pets can be pricey—from preventative care, to check ups, to daily feeding. Seniors on extreme budgets or those that struggle to consistently feed themselves should reconsider before bringing on a pet. Contrary to popular belief, pets should not eat “people” leftovers on a consistent basis.
There are additional ways to enjoy pets if you decide pet ownership is not the right path for you or the senior in your life. Many animal shelters and vets appreciate volunteers. Working adults frequently need “petsitters” to walk dogs or feed cats while they are away. Building a bond with an animal this way can be rewarding, too.