by Lisa Moody Breslin

Age doesn’t matter when it comes to a succession plan for your pets.

Whether you are young or old, before you welcome a pet into your family, talk to someone about care in case there is ever a time when you cannot provide it, local experts advise.

“When my grandfather was getting up there in age, my family decided what to do if he couldn’t take care of his dog any more,” says Charles Brown, executive director of the Humane Society of Carroll County. “Often the best plans start within the family.”

Thankfully, more assisted living communities welcome pets. But when aging pet owners find themselves unable to care for their animals, there are options to consider.

Adoption: If your loved one is the pet owner, ask your loved one’s friends to see if they can offer a new home to the animal.

Allow for bonding: Ideally, help the pet transition to its new owner by easing from a first visit, to extended visits, walks and care before full-time ownership begins. Once an adoption takes place, continue joint visitation as often as possible.

Call the Humane Society and local veterinarians: Both have many resources and can often help re-house a pet. There are also many non-profit organizations that will also assist older adults in finding new homes for their pets.