It’s just about every day that I see senior adults walking dogs in my neighborhood. I wonder what would happen if those seniors could no longer take care of their dogs or make the trip to the store to pick up their food. What about getting to the groomer or the vet? If they moved to senior living, would they be able to bring along their furry family members?
Happily, there are resources to keep pets and their senior owners together. Programs are springing up around the country to keep man and “beast” together.
For those seniors that desire to age in place in the comfort of their own home then home care may be the perfect solution. Many home care agencies, such as Assisting Hands Serving Reston & Northern Fairfax County can care for your dog to include their walking and feeding. There are also great doggie daycare facilities such as Healthy Hound Playground in Sterling, Virginia that are available to provide boarding, grooming or daycare for your dog.
Owning a dog, or for that matter, any animal that depends on you and provides companionship can lower depression, anxiety, stress, blood pressure and triglyceride levels. In addition to these benefits, pets can also enhance quality of life by reducing loneliness, which leads to poor mental and physical health. Pets bring purpose to senior’s lives, especially at a time when fewer people depend on them. Not only can they distract a senior from his or her own health issues, but, in the case of dogs, keep them from being sedentary. They also provide the human touch that is vital to people of any age. If you are looking to help keep your parents and pets together then bone up on these tips:
- Analyze the situation. Does Dad have a physical limitation and/or financial constraints? Is his dog lacking exercise? Reach out to friends, family and neighbors. Consider doggie day care such as Healthy Hound Playground in Sterling, Virginia, for your dog’s socialization and exercise. A neighborhood kid is another option to take your pooch to the park.
- Find a veterinarian who makes house calls.
- Explore pet insurance (i.e. PetPlan, healthpaws or trucompanion).
- Find a Home Care Agency that is pet friendly – Assisting Hands Serving Reston & Northern Fairfax County
- See if the place Mom or Dad may move to is pet-friendly. Many assisted living facilities are now starting to allow their residents to bring their pets with them.
- Rule out puppies and kittens if your parent wants to get a pet. A dog that is housebroken and been taught manners will be less work and less rambunctious than a puppy or kitten.
For more tips on helping the seniors in your life care for their pets, feel free to reach out to Ellen Hughes at Assisting Hands of Reston and Northern Fairfax County.
Ellen, a graduate of James Madison University, has lived and worked in Northern Virginia for over 35 years. Her company, Assisting Hands Home Care, grew out of Ellen’s desire to help others in her community who need assistance at home with their daily routines. If you need help, call the following numbers:
In VA: (703) 556-8983
In MD: (301) 363-2580