Six Ways to Make Pet Ownership Easier for Seniors
Pet ownership is a fantastic way to enrich your retirement, from keeping you company at home to reminding you to go for at least one invigorating walk a day. Pets are always happy to see you, never ask to change what’s on the TV, and are happy to take care of any food scraps you happen to have.
However, as you get older, it may become more difficult to do all the usual bending and lifting involved in traditional pet care. You may have a hard time bending over to fill the food bowl or giving baths, but this doesn’t mean you need a regular pet sitter just to lend a hand. There are plenty of ways to adjust your home and your routine to make pet care easier on old joints and more rewarding for both you and your furry companion.
1) Adopt a Shelter Pet
For most seniors, the last thing you need is an energetic and completely untrained puppy or kitten. While cute, these are projects for younger people with a greater ability to fish sharp baby animals out from under couches and beds.
Instead, your best bet is to find a calm already adult shelter pet who has been thoroughly trained by a previous owner. If you ask around at your local shelters, it’s likely that they have just the pet you’re looking for, one you can give a new life because they may have been overlooked by younger families looking for more energetic animals. However, an older, sedate pet who already knows how to sit, stay, fetch, and ‘go’ outside is perfect for a reliable retirement companion.
2) Little Stairs
Old backs and knees may have trouble getting down on the ground with your pet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come up to you. Make spaces for your pet up at hand-level, wherever that may be for you. This will allow your pet to spend most of their time where you can easily reach them. If you have a smaller or more elderly pet, a set of pet stairs can make it easier for them to get up to the spots you share together.
3) Toys for Seated Owners
While you have plenty of relaxed scritches for your furry companion, most pets also appreciate a certain amount of active play. This can be spent outside on your daily walk but you can also expect your pet to want to play even when you’re comfortably settled down. You can still give your pet all the activity they want simply by planning ahead.
If you have a dog, consider a variety of fetch and tug-of-war toys that you can deploy from a seated position. Cats are even easier, as they are easily entertained with anything from a feather stick to laser pointers.
If you have the assistance of an interactive caregiver in your home, you both can play with your pet. If you stay in seated positions, some of the pressure is taken off you to always be the one that they play with, and they will recognize that the seated position will be the position they are played with from the most.
4) Hire In-Home Groomers
Washing your pet often becomes the most challenging part of ownership when you get older. Fortunately, pet grooming is an entire industry involving a variety of services.
If you don’t care to drive your pet to a groomer’s, you should be able to find a groomer willing to provide in-home services instead. This gives you the opportunity to bond with your pet during bathtime without having to do the washing yourself.
5) Build a Routine
Finally, the best way to make sure that both you and your pet enjoy every day together is to form a routine. The same way you remember to take your own medication, get your daily exercise, and catch your favorite daily community activities, you can also work in a schedule of feeding, walking, and quality couch time with your pet.
6) Work With Your In-Home Caregiver
If you have an in-home caregiver or are considering hiring one in the near future, it’s important to understand how in-home care fits into pet ownership. Taking care of your furry companion absolutely counts as one of those daily household chores that a caregiver can help you with. Putting down food bowls, daily brushing, and keeping the little fluff ball out of laundry baskets are all things that it’s easy and fun for a caregiver to lend a hand with.
Pet ownership in retirement is great for your health, mood, and even your social life, and you don’t have to let aging joints get in the way of a beautiful relationship. With a few clever techniques, some planning, and a little outside assistance, you can enjoy every day at home with your furry companion. For more tips on how to enjoy aging in place with in-home care, give us a call today at (877)-698-9394!