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Helping Seniors Cope with Pet Loss March 13, 2015

As we age, we gain wisdom and invaluable experiences. However, the passage of time can also rob us of so many things that we hold dear, including our beloved pets.

Although all of us experience the grieving process in different ways, there are some things that you can do to help your elderly loved ones cope with the loss of a pet.

The Role a Pet Plays in a Senior’s Life

In order to fully understand and empathize with a senior who recently lost a pet, it is important to understand the pet’s important role in that their life. A pet provides a senior with:

  • Companionship. Many seniors have already lost a spouse or loved one. A pet is often an important companion and a dear friend.
  • Purpose. After retirement, some seniors may feel that they’ve lost their sense of purpose. Caring for a pet can help alleviate these feelings.
  • Routine. Keeping a pet can offer seniors a way to create and maintain a healthy routine and schedule.

Tips for Helping a Senior Cope with Pet Loss

If you know an older person who has recently lost a pet, here are some helpful ways you can support them through this difficult time:

Be a Listener.

After the loss of a pet, most people just need someone to listen and be there to sit with them or hold their hand. Recognize that it may be difficult for them to talk about the loss of their pet and learn to be okay with silence. Be consistent and be available often.

Be Kind and Available.

While you may not fully understand the role their pet had in their life, it is crucial to sympathize and respond kindly. Phrases like, “They’re in a better place” or “It gets easier with time” are often not helpful because they don’t relate to the bereaved pet owner’s personal feelings.

Instead, let them know that you are there for them if they want to talk or if they need anything. Explain that you recognize how important their pet was in their life and that you’re sorry for their loss. This says that you acknowledge their importance of their loss and that you’re here to help.

Lend a Helping Hand.

Many seniors may appreciate help with planning for cremation or funeral services for their pet. Help with housework or meal planning might also be appreciated during their time of grief, but make sure and check with them first.

Offer Grief Support.

There are several different pet loss grief support groups that may be beneficial for your senior loved one to attend. These groups allow them to interact with others who understand their pain and loss, and talk through their grief.

Assist them in Finding a New Pet.

When they have had the time to grieve, the senior in your life may voice interest in finding another pet. You can help them find a pet by looking online or accompanying them on trips to animal shelters.

Find Grief Support and Pet Cremation Services at Paws, Whiskers & Wags

At Paws, Whiskers & Wags , your pet crematory, we know that the loss of a pet can mean the loss of a dear friend and loyal companion. That’s why our friendly, compassionate staff works personally with each family to personalize the end-of-life arrangements for their beloved pet. At our state-of-the-art facility, we offer on-site private cremation so you can be sure to receive only your pet’s ashes.

For more information about our services and pricing, explore our website or talk to one of our staff members by phone at 1-866-497-PAWS.