If you have aging parents who live with pets, there are some elder care issues you will want to consider. This is especially important for people who have an aging parent who lives alone. Even though the pet might not currently be the source of problems, it is possible that such problems could arise in the future. Consider the following issues and discuss your concerns with your parents when you get the chance.
An elderly person living on a fixed income needs to pay special attention to potential sources of unexpected costs. Veterinary care is typically manageable as long as it doesn’t amount to more than the occasional routine visit. Other pet expenses, such as food, grooming, and toys are also typically fairly manageable.
Potential problems arise when a pet suffers a serious illness or injury. Elderly people on fixed incomes faced with a sudden veterinary bill of thousands of dollars can find themselves in a difficult position. As a hedge against this possibility, your elderly parent might want to consider obtaining pet insurance. The insurance programs, much like human health insurance programs, provide benefits for veterinary costs in exchange for a monthly premium.
Elderly Living Quarters
When an elderly parent lives at home with the pets, this can often be both a blessing and a potential hazard. Studies have shown that elderly people obtain significant benefits from living with a pet. In addition to having lower blood pressure and lower heart rates than non-pet owners, elderly pet owners also have decreased feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
The problem arises when an elderly people fall or trip because of their pets. Falling can be a significant source of elderly injuries. Elderly bodies are less able to heal quickly, and the simple falls can lead to serious medical complications.
Falls caused by pets in the home account for over 55,000 injuries every year. An elderly parent who lives at home with a pet should be aware of this risk and take steps to try to minimize it. Simple steps can involve limiting what areas of the home the pet has access to, or providing the parents with senior friendly amenities such as more grab bars, handrails, and other additions.
What happens to the pet if your parents die? If your parents haven’t already done so, you should discuss the possibility of creating a pet trust. Through the trust your parents can provide for the pets needs and appoint someone who will make sure those needs are met. The pet trust will also allow your parents to name the caregiver who will take over actually caring for and housing the pet after the parent is gone.
If you’d like to know more about pet planning and other aspects of estate planning or elder law, browse out upcoming free seminars page. All of our seminars are free to the public, though you should call if you’d like to confirm the dates or event details.