If you are approaching old age and are currently living with a pet, there are several questions you need to ask yourself as you get older. Living with a pet can be a great benefit to you, as numerous studies have shown that pet owners enjoy lower levels of depression, better heart rates, and lower blood pressure than people who don’t live with animals. But keeping a pet in your home as you age, and facing the potential expenses involved, should be something you think about carefully. If you haven’t already done so, there are several questions you want to ask yourself about the role your pet will play in your life, and your estate plan, as you age.
Will I be able to care for my pet?
Your animal companion provides you with love and affection, but will you always be able to be there to provide for your pet’s needs? Our abilities decline as a natural result of the aging process. In many situations, people with pets find that they can’t provide the same type of care they were once able to give. This isn’t always a serious problem, but if you are finding that you’re unable to give your pet the needed food, healthcare, or attention it requires, you need to begin thinking about finding a new home for your pet, or finding someone to help you care for it.
Will I be able to pay for my pet’s needs?
Americans spend over $53 billion on pets every year, and that number keeps getting bigger. In addition to food, grooming, and other regular expenses, there is also the cost of animal health care. Veterinary care expenses are typically manageable if your pet isn’t experiencing any significant health care problems, but can quickly balloon should your animal becomes suddenly sick or injured. Acquiring pet insurance to protect against the sudden large expenses can be an excellent option, especially if you will live on a fixed income.
Should I keep a pet in my home?
One of the most serious issues aging pet owners need to consider is the potential risk keeping a pet in your home could have for you and your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 86,000 people suffer injuries every year after tripping over a household pet. A senior who falls can easily be injured and develop serious medical complications as a result.
If you are a senior who is living with a pet, you might want to consider strategies that will reduce the risk. For example, keeping your animal to a single story of your home, or limiting the areas the pet has access to can reduce you’re the danger of tripping over the animal.