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How Can I Help my Elderly Parents Keep Their Pet?

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How Can I Help my Elderly Parents Keep Their Pet?

By Moreika Johnson, Mother Nature Network

Q: My mother lives alone and is getting up in age. I donít know if she will be able to keep caring for her black Labrador and, unfortunately, Iím allergic to dogs. What do I do if she can no longer care for them?

A: When my great aunt became bedridden in her late 80s, I would visit every now and then, accompanied by my dog Lulu. Since my aunt spent most of her life on a farm, surrounded by cows, chickens and a motley crew of mutts, visits from my hyper pooch provided a welcome diversion from game shows on TV. Lulu often sat at my auntís feet, keeping them warm as we chatted about the weather, neighbors who had passed away and the latest technology ó including email.

Lulu kept silent vigil over my aunt as she slept, long after I had sneaked off to read a book or grab a bite to eat. When I stirred her to leave, my aunt would ask about our next visit. The need for companionship doesnít dwindle with age, and thanks to their unconditional love and companionship, pets can help on this front and improve health in other ways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention credits pets with decreasing blood pressure and loneliness while increasing opportunities to socialize and exercise. WebMD also notes new research from Miami University in Ohio and St. Louis University that indicates pet owners are more physically fit and less fearful of hurdles in everyday life. When it comes to aging, I can use all the help I can get.

But my dog serves as a healthy reminder that the benefits of pet ownership come at a cost. Our furry friends still need food, veterinary care and regular exercise. Fortunately, pet lovers have options to help preserve that relationship well into the golden years.

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Read more: Aging, Caregiving, Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Family, Healthy Aging, Pet Health, Pets, Safety

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Megan, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, MNN.com strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally Ė all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.

52 comments

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12:52PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

8:09AM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

thanks for the info

4:09AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

i would go to my elderly parents house to take care of the pet.

10:53AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Sometimes the only companionship an elderly person has is their pet.I think all avenues should be checked before considering removing the pet.The elderly person may never recover from the loss.

9:02PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Agree with Robert B. For me a family pet is a member of the family and will always stay that way.

9:50AM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

thanks ;)

11:22PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Good grief... want to kill them a little faster? Just take their darling, beloved family member away from them. HORRIBLE.

12:26PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

I am very afraid of tripping over the elderly cat in the house, who seems to be always underfoot (or nearby) when I'm in the kitchen.
(She is slowing down as well so not able to get out of my way as easily as she once did.)

7:03AM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Most shelters have a Seniors for Seniors program so older humans can foster or adopt mature pets.

Best for everyone concerned

12:28AM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Thanks .... lots of information was provided

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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