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Can Rover Come Over?

By Cheryl  Ellis, Staff Writer 

(Page 2 of 3)
 

Find out from the individual running the program if any precedents have been set that parallel your circumstances.  Any reputable behavioral training will reassure family that the pet can be a member of the household (if that is the only objection).  Assisted living centers, nursing homes, or hospice may have slightly different rules.  Hospice can be the most accommodating when it comes to end of life needs being met.  Long-term care facilities generally have one or two pets (often cats) wandering around as unofficial therapists.  Bringing in a custom made, homegrown, duly deputized four legged therapist may be a surprise that is welcomed.

Even if it is not, a serious talk with the administrator and healthcare provider of your loved one may change the decision.  This is especially true if you contribute to pet upkeep by hiring someone who can be relied upon to manage the pet at the facility. 

Things to Consider

When the health of the loved one is at stake by keeping a pet, a serious discussion with the physician is in order.  Make sure the doctor understands the level of emotional attachment involved.  Studies have shown that individuals who own pets lead markedly better lives.  The unconditional love and companionship from any pet boosts self esteem and the outlook on life.  These in turn help the immune system, decrease stressors, and ultimately improve the quality of life and health.  A relaxed, happy “patient” is much easier to care for than one that is down in the dumps.

The sense of appreciation expands at an unconscious level when we accept the pet as an extension of the person we are caring for. 

Opt for Options

Depending on funds, those of us who are still learning to revel in caring for a pet can consider hiring a service to assist us.  The professional pet caretaker may be agreeable to taking Granny along for the walk with the dog.  As long as we have researched the company, our trust and stress levels are being addressed.

Family members may be willing to rotate schedules in helping to take care of the pet, for walks, litter box changes, and other needs.  This takes away primary caregiver stress, and brings family closer together.

 

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