We have all heard someone refer to their pets as their “fur-babies.” Pets become part of the family, so what happens to pets when their owners get older? Often, the elderly are forced to give up their pets without knowing what will happen to them.
There is a lot of research that confirms the benefits of owning a pet including:
Margie Maccoll of Noosa Today explains the purpose of Companion Animal Network (CAN) in Australia. The mission of CAN is to gain support from the “federal government to include pet support in its home care packages and is encouraging more residential care providers to welcome pets with their owners.”
CAN has found that less than 10% of all in-home care providers, in Australia, offer a pet friendly service. This is where CAN comes in; CAN wants more home care providers to begin offering pet friendly services to preserve the bond the elderly have with their pets. In doing so, it will create a smoother transition for older adults receiving extensive care.
The goal is to have the Australian Federal Government acknowledge what pet owners need and want in the In-Home Aged Care Program. Currently, many older adults give up most of their belongings -- including pets -- to move into residential care facilities. However, there is one residential care provider that is proving how beneficial pets can be in the lives of the elderly.
Lifeview, a facility in Victoria, allow residents to have pets under certain policies. Residents or their families must care for the pet, the pet must remain in the resident’s room, and not disturb other residents. When the resident is no longer able to care for the pet, other arrangements must be made.
Maccoll explains that there are older adults that are refusing to transition to residential care solely because they are unable to bring their pets with them. If you’ve ever had a pet, you understand how attached you can become and how difficult it would be to have to rehome them. CAN is making it so more older adults will be able to stay united with their pets for as long as possible, even when they need care.
Although the article written by Maccoll is focused on Australia, it can be easily translated to the United States. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, millions of Americans own pets. For example, about 38% of households have dogs and about 25% have cats. It is important to remember that older adults go through enormous amounts of changes, especially when they are no longer able to care for themselves independently. Allowing them to keep their animals may allow for an easier transition.
Additionally, in the USA there is the Senior Paw Project which focuses on “Honoring the bond between caregivers and their pets, the Senior Paw Project provides critically needed pet food, veterinary care assistance and foster/respite care to senior pet owners struggling to keep or care for their animals.”
If you have any questions about home care for your loved ones, you can contact us. You can also check out the rest of our blog posts on our website.
Written by Madison Chalmers
Image by boryanam on Freepik