So here is something that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, as humans enter their “senior” years, when pets are more important than ever in providing companionship, love and a long list of health benefits, they are often separated from their beloved pets. It is heart breaking for the senior and all involved in the senior’s life, including the pets. So let’s take a few moments of preparation so we can prevent this from happening to you.
My friend James Hall of Senior Care Fitness recommends being proactive in planning for the potential event later in life when you can’t and or don’t want to live independently. It is important to start finding an assisted living facility or living situation that you can afford and will allow you to bring your pets with you before you need it. You can research options on your own, with family or senior service agencies.
Once you find viable options go visit them and get more details about pet policies, as well as other services and activities. Be prepared with questions that are important to you and assess whether it has the kind of culture you want. For example, if you’re looking for a place that’s pet-friendly, take note of whether you see folks out for walks with their dogs or whether the center has social opportunities for animal lovers.
If your goal is to continue living independently as long as possible talk with family or friends about how important it is to keep your pets in your life and make a plan to do so. James also recommended looking for pet care shortcuts such as timed feeders for pets, water fountains and sifting litter boxes for cats and dog walkers to keep your pets healthy with less responsibility for you.
You also need a solid plan for your pet’s care should you no longer be able to provide it. Plan with family or friends who you trust to provide the loving care your pet needs and include clear directives in your will. If you don’t have people who can provide care, then find services that do this. For example, Second Chance Humane Society offers a planned giving program that includes caring for and rehoming pets with loving new families.
Anyone who has had pets before knows what a huge responsibility it is, which is why it's so important to set yourself up for success. Becoming less independent, as well as moving into an assisted living facility, are already major life changes, for both you and your pets. With the right resources, though, there’s no reason why you can’t both adapt and enjoy your new lives together.
My name is Bonsai, and at 18 years old, I am the perfect companion for a senior (or really any home that wants a loving cuddly lap kitty). I devote most of my day to keeping my staff’s laps warm, working as an office assistant and napping often from all my hard work! In other words, I am seeking a forever lap to lounge on while keeping your love tank filled up, come meet me today!
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties for 27 years. Call 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer or other services. View our shelter pets and services online at adoptmountainpets.org.