SUPPORT THE PETS
WHO SUPPORT OUR SENIORS
Research shows that seniors with pets are less likely to exhibit depression and experience illness, and that animal ownership can help to address loneliness and social isolation – issues that are often exacerbated among older adults. But taking care of a pet – feeding, grooming and veterinary care – can be financially and physically burdensome to seniors. More often than not, a devoted animal lover with limited access to food will feed their hungry pet before they feed themselves.
One in four seniors lives alone, and for some seniors, the Meals on Wheels volunteer who provides them with a nutritious meal, friendly visit and safety check may be the only person they see all day. Their pet is their main companion and best friend, so we recognize how important it is to keep seniors and their pets together. In fact, Meals on Wheels America surveyed our local member programs in 2019 and found that roughly half of them provide pet services of some kind, most commonly providing pet food deliveries to homebound clients. Pet assistance programs have become an increasingly common extension of Meals on Wheels’ “more than just a meal” offering, because we know that there are myriad health and wellness benefits linked to animal ownership and the companionship and sense of purpose pets provide to seniors.
That’s why Meals on Wheels supports both our seniors and their pets – to ensure that they can live nourished, healthy lives, together.