Pets can be a great way to relieve stress for almost anyone, especially those who are an advanced age. When our older loved ones move into an assisted living facility, getting a pet for them may help alleviate some of the sadness or feelings of depression they could be experiencing. Here are some things to keep in mind when getting a pet for your loved one in assisted living:
Make Sure Pets are Allowed
Before you even begin to look for a pet, make sure it is allowed in their facility. Many sites are very welcoming to pets while others completely forbid it. If pets are allowed and your loved one has regular caretakers that help them, you may want to make sure they can deal with a pet as well, since they will have regular contact with it as well. If they have a pet allergy, you may want to take that into consideration.
Make Sure Your Loved One Can Handle a Pet
Before you even bring up the idea about getting a pet, see if your loved one is capable of handling one. They need to be able to lift bags of pet food, bend over to feed it, walk a dog regularly, and so on. Getting a pet is very good exercise, but you don't want them to overwork themselves and become injured.
Ask Them if They Would Like a Pet
Once you've decided a pet is a possibility, you need to actually ask them if they would like one. Do not just show up at the door one day with a pet without asking first. They may not want to be bothered with taking care of something other than themselves. If they don't want a pet but you still think it would benefit them by giving them something to do, offer to get them a low-maintenance pet like a fish.
Decide What Happens to the Pet in the Future
Another thing to keep in mind is what will happen to the pet down the road. Sadly, your loved one will not be around forever and the pet will need a new home eventually. Are you willing to take it into your home? Is it going to be adopted by someone else? You need to have a plan in place for the pet if your loved one passes away.
Pets are an excellent way for seniors to stay healthy, strong, and happy. You may want to consider adopting a pet who has experience living indoors and is house trained so it is less work for them.
Assisted living apartments, like Colonial Residence, are a great transition for those who need assistance but are still very independent. A pet could be a great way for your loved one to continue this independence, but be sure to consider these things prior to making any elaborate plans.