Loss Of A Pet Is Harder For Old People


Sal Older Woman

Losing A Pet Is More Difficult for Older People

Gretchen Heuring | ElderThink


Older people experience loss more frequently than younger people. Death comes to our parents, our friends and relatives, a spouse, perhaps a grown child. And we lose things we thought we would always have; good eyesight, hearing, the limitations brought about by some chronic condition or serious illness. The death of a pet can reawaken so much sorrow.


But there is more than just sadness for the lost of a dear animal friend. Often this pet is the source of our daily routine, someone who sleeps next to us and shares our ways, someone who just loves us.


For some older people, a pet is the only family left. When it dies, there is no one. So loss and grief are compounded by loneliness.


If the pet had been shared by a now-deceased spouse, or given by someone now gone, the loss of connection can develop into true despair and the deepest depression.


How to Help An Older Person Grieving A Pet

Seniors may not wish to trouble someone else with their grief. Older people often are uncomfortable about expressing their feelings openly. It's important to respect their restraint.


Be present. Ask if your older person would like to talk about memories of the pet. Suggest a topic like asking about the pet's favorite treat or if it liked the mailman. Then just listen. Give the person time to gather his thoughts, and just listen.




Woman With Cat

Pets Are Good For Old Folks


The inevitable tragedies come along as we grow old. Loved ones pass on and we miss them. We struggle with our own physical and mental problems too. It can all be quite depressing.


Pets need us. We must feed and groom them, find ways for them to get excercise, clean up after them, and just plain love them. They shift our attention away from ourselves and they comfort us. They get us out and about where we have to speak to other people whether we want to or not.


Best of all, pets make us smile. They even make us laugh sometimes with their antics. Anyone ever see a great big dog stick her head under a chair during a thunderstorm?


No doubt about it. Pets are good for us as we get older.

The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies, Fourth Edition

Wallace Sife, Ph.D.



Rainbow Bridge

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.


There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.


There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.


All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.


The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.


They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.


You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.


Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author Unknown


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