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KEEPING SENIORS AND THEIR PETS TOGETHER

Because you can't underestimate
the value of a pet's love

KEEPING SENIORS AND THEIR PETS TOGETHER

Because you can't underestimate
the value of a pet's love

    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 last year and found that roughly half of them provide pet services. 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.

    PETS MAKE SENIORS HAPPIER AND HEALTHIER

       Senior man with dog

    SENIORS WITH PETS

    Pet Facts

    COMPARED TO NON-PET OWNERS


    Sources: Stanley, I. H., Conwell, Y., Bowen, C., & Van Orden, K. A. (2014). Pet Ownership may Attenuate Loneliness Among Older Adult Primary Care Patients Who Live Alone. Aging & Mental Health18(3), 394–399. http://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2013.837147; Siegel, J.M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1081-1086.

    OUR GRANTS HELP KEEP SENIORS AND PETS TOGETHER

    In October 2015, Banfield Charitable Trust handed over all funding and grants administration responsibilities for their Pet Assistance Grant Program to Meals on Wheels America. Since 2007, the grant program has distributed more than $2.4 million in funding and pet food donations to 330 local Meals on Wheels programs across the nation that are working to keep pets and their homebound seniors together.

    That work has since expanded with a national partnership with PetSmart Charities. Over a three-year period, Meals on Wheels America will invest in our local member programs so they can launch and expand pet support resources in more communities across the country. We will also undertake research initiatives to better understand what Meals on Wheels clients and their pets need, and how our network is uniquely able to support seniors and their pets aging in place together.


    MEALS ON WHEELS AND PET SERVICES IN THE NEWS

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    THE NEED FOR SENIOR PET SUPPORT IS GROWING


    Seniors are the fastest growing population in this country and with that growth comes the perpetual increase in demand for Meals on Wheels services. As more seniors live longer and choose to age in place, the need for pet assistance will increase right along with the population trends.

    Together, we can ensure that homebound seniors do not have to give up their beloved pets simply because they can’t make it to the vet or to the store to purchase food. To contact a local Meals on Wheels program and learn more about what pet services they may offer and how you can help, click here, enter your zip code and connect with the program nearest you.

    HELPING A PET LEAVES A SENIOR FEELING NOURISHED, TOO 

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