Myth 13: I Don’t Have Any Children, Who Will Take Care of My Pets?

By Laurie Ray, CMSW, C-ASWCM of Lifelinks of the Triangle

Planning for our later years requires some insight into our wishes, expectations, and is frequently more involved than how well we have saved for retirement. Sometimes we may forget or take for granted quality-of-life details. Explore valuable information in this article on the companionship pets can serve for aging loved ones, as well as how to consider them in long term care plans.


Many of those that are animal lovers cannot conceive of the notion that at some point they may not be able to physically, cognitively, or financially maintain the ability to be responsible for a pet. They will always expect to have a pet in their life, regardless of their living environment, and not worry about the ability to provide adequate care.
Historically animals have been an integral part of society—both past and present— whether they met agricultural needs, provided companionship, or assisted with functioning. For some, maintaining a connection with an animal is vital in ensuring a sense of self-worth or purpose. Acknowledging and respecting one’s history with animals may aid in validating a sense of self.


For all of us, relationships change as we age, including those with our animals. In addition to companionship and unconditional love, our pets may meet the changing needs in our lives in a wide variety of ways, including:
• providing assistance
• helping maintain a sense of purpose and responsibility
• increasing our mobility or exercise opportunities
• serving as a status symbol that sets us apart from others
• increasing socialization—as the pet may serve as a conduit to interactions with others
• helping normalize our environment
• having a calming effect and reducing anxiety
• providing sensory stimulation through touch, sight, and smell
• decreasing our focus on an illness or stressful situation
• serving as a buffer with family conflict and relationships.


If you or someone you know would like to consider long term pet planning options, give us a call at 919-493-8411 and request a complimentary initial consultation with Shirley Diefenbach, an attorney that has been involved with many pet trust situations at Walker Lambe and can share her experience with you and your family.

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