Community Blog

Helping Your Parent Through Their Grief During World Animal Remembrance Month

By Vicki and Brian Day

Home Care in Palmerton PA

You should never underestimate the power of an animal in your aging parent’s life. As a family caregiver you should know that a pet can help your parent to enjoy better mental, emotional, and even physical health as they age in place. Studies have shown that regularly interacting with animals can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, diminish feelings of depression, and help your parent to manage issues such as chronic pain. For many people, a pet is more than just a pet. It can truly be a member of the family and a dear friend. When that animal reaches the end of its life, it can be extremely stressful and upsetting for your elderly parent to manage. Helping them through this very real grief can help protect them from potentially devastating impact on their quality of life.

September is World Animal Remembrance Month. During this month, set aside time to help your parent cope with their grief and ensure that their animal remains an important part of their memories into the future.

Use these tips to help your parent through their grief during World Animal Remembrance Month:

• Acknowledge their grief. Some people minimize the pain that they are going through when they lose a pet. They feel that they are not really grieving or mourning because it is not a person. Reassure them that they truly are going through a period of grief and that these feelings are legitimate and painful. Acknowledging this can help them to come to terms with their emotions and release them so that they can start to work through them.

• Talk about the pet. Just as you would with a human loved one who has been lost, spend some time talking about the pet. Share memories and wonderful stories that you have. While this will likely cause tears and moments of difficulty, it is a way to bring good emotions into the straining time.

• Create a memorial. Honor the memory of your parent’s beloved furry companion by creating a memorial or memorial craft. Use pictures of the craft to make a scrapbook or to frame for the wall. Create a garden stone with the pet’s name. Use a special skill such as cross-stitching to make a piece of art for your loved one to display that honors their time with the pet.

If your parent has recently lost a beloved pet or is coping with another form of grief, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for your loved one. An in-home senior care services provider can be with your parent to provide the emotional support, guidance, and encouragement your senior needs to manage their grief and protect their mental and emotional health as they work through this difficult time. This can help to reduce the chances that your parent will suffer from depression, anxiety, and other serious consequences associated with grief. With a personalized approach to care, support, and assistance, your aging loved one can work through this time while still focusing on enjoying a quality of life that is beneficial, productive, and fulfilling as they age in place.