Animals in the lives of elderly people often take on many roles. They include that of best friend and companion, protector. They give the person a reason to get out and exercise and socialize and are they are depended upon.
It is often assumed that when their pets die they too will die or they will not cope. Many elderly people actually cope better. They have often had their partners, friends, sometimes even their children pass away and have learned how they best cope and get through the tough days.
It is important for the those that do have an elderly friend or relative that has lost an animal to understand that they need a friend and a shoulder but not necessarily a replacement animal. Many people go out and buy their elderly relative a puppy or new animal assuming it’ll help them forget. This is not the best thing for most people. They usually don’t want to forget. The replacement animal is often too young and needs a lot of care. The person often is not ready for another animal or has decided not to take on the responsibility of another animal again.