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Pets offer great companionship to seniors


created at: 2010/09/23As we live longer lives, the death of a beloved pet may be extremely difficult because it often comes after many other significant deaths and losses in your lives - partners, siblings, friends and sometimes children. For many of us as we age, our pets are our primary and significant relationship and a key factor in our daily routines as well as the focus of our attention, contact and care.

For many seniors our daily routine revolves around caring for our pets and this is gives us a sense of being needed.  In other cases, the pet may be a strong link to the past.

Pets offer much more than companionship to so many of us as we continue to live. They help us feel connected to another. Pets motivate us to exercise and be more active. They also help to alleviate loneliness by listening and also being readily available to give and receive affection. This in turn helps many elders feel safer. Plus, pets provide the joy of touch in a world that has little affection left to offer.

When our pet dies, it can be overwhelming. It may also put us in more intimate relationship to our own mortality and trigger sadness associated with other losses. Managing the ongoing care of our pets can be expensive, stressful and time consuming.Building a relationship with a local and understanding veterinarian is important.


Offer your support and suggest accompanying them to the veterinarian, make dates with your local seniors for walks and look in on them.

Older pet owners are often scared about what will happen to their pets if they get sick. Help them with a are and/or savings plan 

Encourage them to carry information about the pet in their wallet with contact numbers and any instructions in case of  emergency.

Make arrangements with family and friends for care should their be an emergency..

If you are preparing for the possibility that your pet will outlive you, make provisions for them in your Will.  Begin discussions with family members or friends about who can continue to look after your pet and what support and practical resources you may be able to offer them so your pet can continue to be loved and cared for as you would wish them to be. Alternatively, you can make contact with various animal organisations to see how they will re-home your pet.