There is little doubt that having a pet to love does wonders for the health and wellness of seniors. When a senior has a companion of the furry kind they are known to be happier and healthier and there is a vast number of study’s that prove it. Maintaining a pet can be a great deal of work for anyone, but some older adults struggle to afford food, preventative health care, or housing that is pet friendly. The payoff for overcoming these obstacles of owning a pet is unconditional love between a pet and its owner.
Throughout my career I have heard many stories of the love a consumer has for their pet; as outrageous as some are, as a pet owner I agree, there is little I wouldn’t do for my own dogs. We have all heard of those who have shared meals or refused to seek medical attention because their buddy would be left alone. Some of these occurrences have prompted me to ask…
“What is your plan for your pet if something were to happen to you?”
Surprisingly, many people do not have a plan for their pet if something were to happen to them. It only takes a bit of preparation, to prevent the worry that could impact the pet and owner’s health, as well as the recovery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage the following tips for emergencies:
- Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit for your pet like www.ready.gov suggests and include basic survival items and items to keep your pet happy and comfortable. Include food, water, leashes, health records, medications and contact information for your pet’s veterinarian.
- Have your pet micro chipped so if separated you can be reconnected easily.
- Identify friends and family that may be willing to care for your pet if you are unable to.
- Make sure your pet has identification on.
- In the event of an emergency it is suggested that everyone who has a pet carry a card in their wallet that can be given to healthcare professionals that identifies that there are pets alone in your home and that they need care.
Jenni Miller BSN, RN, BC, Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, MI Choice Waiver Program Manager.