Monday, July 30, 2007

Pets - More Than Companions to Seniors

In an odd bit of news re elder care, a cat that offers comfort to nursing home patients in their final hours. While it is a touching story, it highlights for me how many seniors die alone, and how many have pets that are their constant companions in later life that will need continuing care and provisions when their owner passes away.

Cat plays furry grim reaper at nursing home: "PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours." Click here for full article.
Many seniors are truly worried about what will happen to their feline and canine and other companions if they are no longer able to take care of them. A client may have adult children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren who are settled and secure, but when they come to see me, they have stress about providing for the loved one in their life who can't provide for themselves. A couple of thoughts:

Put practicality first. Make sure people know you have a pet, and arrange for a family member or friend to agree to be responsible for "emergency care" if you fall ill. This person needs to be able to get to the pet (has keys to the house) and be aware of the pets needs.

Arrange for long term care for your pet in your Will. This can take a variety of forms, such as a direction as to who gets the pets, matched with a monetary bequest or not, or a pet trust, or making arrangements with a company that provides care for pets for the balanace of their lives when their owners have died.

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