WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Understanding why elderly pet owners develop deep and meaningful relationships with their pets is clear – pets provide essential elements of unconditional love and companionship for seniors. For these reasons, family members may choose to give a pet to their aging parents during the holiday season. A pet in the elderly household does more than lift spirits, they provide a motivation to be needed, to feel touch, be emotionally close to and to have someone to talk to.
Pets are often a much-needed stimulus for seniors to stay healthy while maintaining a responsible role in caring for their furry friend, according to Pernille Ostberg, MBA, RPh, president and CEO of Matrix Home Care. "However, we encourage the gift-giver to make certain the pet is well-trained so they can be an asset in a senior's home, not a liability," she said.
Kat Macenas, co-owner of Leader of the Pack canine services in Delray Beach, Florida, specializes in behavioral training for dogs and cautions that elderly pet owners need to understand their limits. "A smaller dog that needs less care is better suited for a senior, because the owner may not be able to do it all," she said.
If a senior suffers the loss of a beloved pet, the grief can be overwhelming. According to Macenas, replacing the pet with an older, low energy dog or cat may be the right move. "Trying to replace the pet too soon becomes very emotional, the pet becomes more dominant," she said. "When you are getting a new dog you might consider fostering a dog first to find out if you are ready to make it permanent."
Macenas also emphasizes the temperament of the dog is important. "With a puppy running around, housebreaking, pulling and barking are part of the puppy behaviors and can become problematic," she said. "And, size matters when it comes to a senior and their pet. Bigger dogs can pull their owner down," Macenas added.
Finally, seniors should have pet instructions close at hand in case of an emergency and draft an estate provision with details on where the pet will go; or make arrangement with relatives or friends regarding the pet's care.
About Matrix Home Care
Based in West Palm Beach, Matrix provides a complete array of services, home health care, disability management so injured employees can quickly return to work, independent senior care based on the needs of the elderly and specialty nurses' services, including wound care, infusion therapy and rehabilitation nursing. Certified as a woman minority owned business, Matrix serves Southwest, Southeast and Central Florida from locations in West Palm Beach, Tampa, Bradenton, Venice, Fort Myers, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Coral Gables and Jupiter. For more information, www.matrixhomecare.com.
SOURCE Matrix Home Care