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Aging and Our Pets: Do Feelings About Pets Change?

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Senior Couple and dog
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Last week, I read an article discussing the fact that baby boomers are changing their views on their pets as both age.  Although much has been written about the benefits of pet ownership for senior citizens, there are some disadvantages too.

Many senior citizens are on a very limited income, living in smaller homes and with the average annual cost of a routine veterinary care coming in at $248, keeping their pets becomes financially difficult.

Another fact to consider is with the boomers aging (the oldest of the generation will turn 66 this year), pet owners are worrying about what might happen to their pets if they pass away.  Although some people have made arrangements for pets in wills and trusts, many pet owners have not.  This leaves remaining family members to find good homes for pets left behind after their owner dies.

Even though pets are great company, they can create safety risks for senior owners.  Smaller dogs and cats can pose tripping risks for seniors already a bit unsteady on their feet.  I recently had a senior client whose dog had scratched her leg with no intention of causing harm.  The scratch became infected and several doctor visits were required.

This is a very difficult situation with no easy answers.  What are your thoughts regarding pet ownership as you get older?  Do you plan to continue owning pets into your senior years?

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