How can I help my aging parent who keeps forgetting to feed the dog?

Asked by: Amanda Woodward |Posted on: November,30 | Viewed: 222 times

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Hi Amanda, and thank you for your question! 

Taking care of a pet can provide a sense of peace and companionship for older adults. However, when your aging parents can no longer take care of themselves, it can be difficult for them to have other mouths to feed. Consider purchasing refillable food and water bowls which replenish themselves as pets eat. If you live nearby, consider stopping by at least once a week to make sure the pets (and your parents) are getting taken care of. 
Chances are that if your aging parents are forgetting to feed their pets, they are also forgetting other essential daily activities such as bathing and feeding themselves. Consider hiring an in-home caregiver to come by and cook meals for your parents, or sign them up for a food delivery service to ensure they are maintaining good nutrition as they age. 
If your parents are clearly unable to take care of their pets anymore, you may want to research local adoption centers or animal shelters that take in pets in need. Have an open conversation with your parent about your concerns and the options you have moving forward. If they truly love their pets, they will want to give them the best possible life, even if that includes giving them away. Please let us know if you have any other questions regarding this topic. 
~Seniorly


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About Amanda Woodward

Amanda Toler Woodward, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. She does research on services and supports for older adults including racial and ethnic disparities in access to services and international comparisons of service systems. She writes about a wide range of topics related to aging research, social work, academia, and whatever else catches her fancy at www.amandatolerwoodward.com


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