Archive for January, 2010

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10:17 6 January 2010

Pet Loss and the Elderly III

Loved and Cherished CasketPet Loss for our elderly friends and family members can be especially tragic.  Most of the time the pet was the only family member that person had left.  Older folks have already experienced much loss, of a spouse, friends and family members.  Losing their beloved animal companion can be just as traumatic for them as a human death, for them pets are just as much a family member as anyone else.   Sometimes there is even a deeper connection with a pet than with another human that only pet owners can understand.  If the pet was a gift from someone now gone, the final symbolic link to the deceased loved one is lost.  If there is incomplete resolution of past losses, the pet’s death can also trigger unresolved grief for the pet owner.  It can also be a reminder that one’s own health is failing or that the later days of one’s own life are soon approaching. Do you have an elderly family member or friend who is facing the loss of a beloved companion animal?  Here are some more suggestion of what you can do to help.

Sometimes elderly pet owners are concerned about what will happen to the pet in the event that they themselves become ill, are in an accident, are hospitalized or die.  Many are fearful that their pet will outlive them and will have no one to care them.  Sadly these concerns can motivate euthanasia of a healthy pet, or may discourage an elderly person from getting another pet after their loved one has died.  You can encourage your senior citizen friends or family members to: 1. Carry a note in their wallet with instructions on pet care, a list of the pets, and who should be called in case of an emergency.  2. Help them draft an estate provision of where the pets will go.  3. Make prior arrangements with family or friends for the pet’s care.  Finally, be there for them when their pet passes.  Help them make arrangements to bury their pet in their back yard or in a pet cemetery.  They may also want to place their lost loved one is a Pet Casket to properly intern them.  Help them do the best they can to bid farewell to their beloved companion, it will lessen their grief.

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2:36 5 January 2010

Pet Loss and the Elderly II

Lighthouse UrnIf you know of an elderly person who is facing the loss of their beloved companion animal, here are some suggestions on how you can help.

1. Keep in mind that many seniors cannot afford costly diagnostic and treatment proceedures.  They may be forced to make life and death decisions for their sick or injured pet based on finances.  If you cannot help them financially, please be willing to give them extra support and understanding at this delicate time in their life.

2. Older Folks may be basing their decisions on outdated information or prior bad experiences they may have had with a pet death or euthanasia.  They made need encouragement to discuss their questions, concerns and options more openly with their Veterarian.  You may want to accompany them on this visit since they may need more time to process what is being said to them, especially if they are upset or hearing impared.  You may need to ask the Vet to speak slowly and clearly and repeat the information if necessary.  You may also want to write down the material that may be forgotten.

3. Seniors may express their grief differently than you do.  They may be more stoic and quiet in their grief and do not outwardly express it like younger generations.  They may also be a bit wiser and more “seasoned” to grieving, maybe better able to cope.  Rather than assuming that you know what is best for your elderly friend or parent, please observe, listen and ask what it is they really need.

4. Before the death of a senior’s beloved pet, help them plan how they will intern it.  Where they want to bury it, do they want to have a special tribute made, or do they want to have some of the ashes placed in a special Pet Memorial Jewelry urn they can wear around their neck to keep their beloved pet close to their heart after the loss.

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12:48 5 January 2010

Pet Loss and the Elderly

dreamstime_870654

Losing a  beloved pet and companion is hard on everyone, but it takes a special toll on our elderly friends and family members.  The most consistent experience at their stage of life is loss.
By now most have lost parents, spouses, siblings, children or close friends to death.  They have less physical strength, stamina and mobility and with retirement even their identity with a prior occupaton is lost.  If they are living on a fixed income, even their former standard of living is gone, and so it their opportunities for socialization in the workplace.

Being deprived of so much, it is not surprising that older folks develop such a deep, meaningful attachment to their pets.  Such relationships are significant and enduring and meet a whole range of physical and emotional needs for them.  Pets can help the elderly feel more productive, useful and needed.  The pet helps them to engage in a more active life-style as they depend on them for food, water, exercise and medical care.  4-legged loved ones also give companionship and a feeling of closeness, thereby helping the elderly feel more secure, protected, supported and no longer alone.  They can also motivate a person to take better care of themselves out of a sense of responsibility for the pet.  They help them to feel touched both physically and emotionally, have someone to talk to and communicate with, and pets also love unconditionally – they don’t care what you look like, how much money you make, or where  you live.

Until we realize the significance of an animal in an elderly person’s life, we cannot begin to appreciate the magnitude of loss and the intensity of their grief.  Their pet may be the only family an older person has, and when the pet dies, there is no family left.  There is no longer the sense of of being needed, no companionship, no one to talk to, no one to sleep with, no one to make them feel important.  The house becomes to empty, too quiet, too lonely.  There is no stimulus to keep them going, no structure or meaning to daily routines.

Friends and family members can help by being patient, by listening, by just being there so they can talk honestly and openly about their loss.  You may also consider helping them place their lost loved one in a Pet Urn where they can keep their lost pet close by – on an end table or on the fireplace mantle.

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Angel and Onyx Ginger Jar UrnMany people believe in some kind of after-life, a place of peace and rest where both  humans and pets reside in happiness.  We often imagine that our lost loved one is some how with us still in spirit,  and can even “watch” over us while we sojourn here on earth.

When asked the question if you can have a bond with your deceased pet, Veterinarian and author Dr. Roland Tripp and animal-behavior specialist answered, “I think so”.  I believe so too, because I have experienced it for myself.

Many of us have had a pet that so deeply touched our hearts that we carry the memory of that pet with us for the remainder of our lives.   Those who have never had this inexplainable bond, those who have never experience the grieving process, will never understand how deep the love for an animal can go.  They may even laugh at the thought, but the wise who understand this bond  just smile because they can relate to our feelings.

Many pet owners want something special to remember a particular pet, the one who touched their life so deeply.  Pet Cremation Urns
offer a way to keep your lost loved one as close as the mantle or bedside table.  Placing your pet  in a Memorial Urn can help you successfully navigate the bereavement process and bring back fond memories every time you look at it.

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11:28 4 January 2010

Go Ahead, It’s Okay to Grieve

Homeward Bound Keepsake urn

At some point every human being will lose someone they love and will enter into grieving.  It is a very normal, necessary process.  It doesn’t matter if the loved one is a child, spouse, dear friend, or even a 4-legged beloved companion animal, the grief is still very real.

While it may be tempting to  deny grieving to avoid the pain, it is much healthier to accept these feelings as normal and to work through them in an intentional way.  The following are steps you can take to work through the pain of grieving and get on with the next phase of your life:

1. Learn to accept that your loss is real.   Accept that your loved one is really gone.
2. Make it Okay to feel the pain.  This pain can be both physical and emotional.  Denying this pain will only prolong your grieving.
3. Adjust to your new life without your loved one.  Include new people and activities to help fill the void left by the loss.
4. Find a safe place in your heart for your loved one and move on.  Learn to cherish a memory without letting it control you.  The place you decide to keep your memories is up to you.  You can tuck your loved one into your heart, keep a box of photos somewhere special, or even carry your loved one’s ashes close to your heart in a beautiful piece of Pet Memorial Jewelry.
5. For many, the hardest part about a loss is knowing what to do with the love you have for your pet.  Remind yourself that you don’t have to stop loving him/her just because they are not with you.  When a memory of your beloved pet  pops up, send a loving
                                                                                                     thought and know that you are loved in return.  You may find comfort in this and can find strength to continue in your journey of life.