How to keep seniors and their pets a part of our community

CONNECTIONS: It's vital to help maintain the wellbeing of the elderly and their pets.
CONNECTIONS: It's vital to help maintain the wellbeing of the elderly and their pets.

With older Australians being urged to stay home and only leave the house for essentials, many senior pet owners are at risk of losing social connections as well as the ability to easily access basic pet care and services as they self-isolate.

Knowing their loyal companions will remain happy and healthy can have a huge impact on their daily lives and the lives of their cherished pet.

Here are some tips to help seniors in the community stay socially connected as well as some advice on how people in their lives can assist with ongoing pet care during this crisis.

Stay connected

Keeping up with regular vet visits, accessing essential pet services and supplies and maintaining daily exercise are some of the difficulties the elderly may face, even without the threat of a serious illness.

When you then consider the restrictions currently in place and the need for seniors to be especially vigilant about contact and isolation, caring for yourself and a pet becomes so much harder.

This isolation makes the health and wellbeing of pets even more important as often they are the only companions the elderly have.

If you have a grandparent, elderly family friend or neighbour in the local community with a pet, it's really important to stay connected with them and offer your support and assist wherever you can.

Communications that do not require any physical presence such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and Facebook are some of the online options which exist to help family and friends stay virtually connected.

Alternatively, a daily phone call is a straightforward way to check in on those not-so-tech-savvy individuals along with those who may not have access to the internet.

Provide assistance

During these calls you can volunteer to take a dog out for their daily walk, observing all the necessary precautions, offer to collect pet food, medications or other essential supplies like cat litter or even help guide seniors through the process of how to online shop for those supplies if they are comfortable and confident with technology.

Emergency care plan

Family, friends and neighbours should check in with their loved ones to ensure an emergency care plan is in place for their pet.

This plan would come into play in the event they are required to undergo hospitalisation or for other reasons such as financial pressures.

Having a plan like this will help give seniors a sense of security, allowing them to relax and focus on getting well or staying well.

If you have a grandparent, elderly family friend or neighbour in the local community with a pet, it's really important to stay connected with them and offer your support and assist wherever you can.

Emergency or foster care

If a loved one has contracted COVID-19, try to have their pet cared for by another member of the family or close friends.

Foster care too is an incredibly rewarding experience and the perfect way to pay it forward during the COVID-19 crisis if you are in a position to help out seniors in need.

Donate

It's also a great time to consider a donation to your local group as most rely heavily on fundraising at events which have now been cancelled or postponed.

There are hundreds of incredible organisations and charities making a difference to the lives of seniors and their pets.

Information supplied by PETstock