According to The Humane Society of the United States, it’s estimated that 65% of American households own a pet. There are approximately 163.6 million dogs and cats in American homes. It’s safe to say that Americans love their pets!
How Seniors Benefit from Animal Companions
Companion pets, specifically such as cats or dogs, have been shown to provide a positive impact on one’s mind and psyche. Seniors citizens are amongst the population that can truly benefit from the companionship and love of a pet. Pet ownership can improve the quality of life for older adults by giving them a sense of safety and positive outlook about their own health. It has also been shown that pet ownership can even lower your stress level and blood pressure.
Stepping in When Seniors Can’t Care for Their Pets
While all these benefits are certainly positive, there are times when caring for a pet becomes too much for a senior to handle on their own. To address this growing need, there are many companies and groups that provide resources to seniors to help care for their beloved furry friends.
Connecting Young Professionals with Seniors & Their Pets
Gen Philly and The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) have partnered to offer resources to help seniors with their pet care. Gen Philly is an organization that connects young professionals with other older adults through networking events throughout Philadelphia, PA. PAWS has long been an advocate for the proper treatment of animals in Philadelphia. Together in 2015, the two groups hosted a happy hour in which donations for pet care were received. Pet food and toys were donated by the community and distributed to seniors struggling with carrying for their pets. Similarly, New York City has joined PAWS and Gen Philly in their effort to provide pet care resources for seniors.
Matching Seniors and their Pets with Volunteer Helpers
The Jewish Association for the Services of the Aged (JASA), is a New York based social services agency that strives to improve the overall quality of life for older adults. Understanding the positive impact pets can have on the quality of life of seniors, JASA created the JASA PETS Project which matches volunteers with seniors who are in need of assistance with pet care. These volunteers are available to walk, clean, and feed these precious pets. This unique service provides not just pet care, but also priceless companionship to seniors.
Pets are an important part of many older adults’ lives. Caring for a pet can present a difficult challenge to seniors, but thanks to the efforts of groups such as PAWS, Gen Philly, and JASA seniors can still enjoy their loved pets. If you are interested in learning how you can help seniors and pets in their community, click here to be directed to a list created by Purina with helpful ways you can help. Additionally, Griswold Home Care caregivers can provide pet care assistance to keep you and your pet in the place you love.