Alongside companionship, owning a pet has long been associated with a wide range of health benefits. Take a recent study, for example, which found that pet owners have experienced significantly lower levels of stress and loneliness during COVID-19 lockdowns. When it comes to the elderly, having a pet by their side can often mean the world to them.
That’s why nonprofit organization Pets for the Elderly has recently announced that it will increase its efforts to help senior citizens care for their pets — a move that’s particularly welcome during these emotionally-exhausting times of pandemic.
As part of the initiative, the nonprofit will expand its grant program to include animal care assistance at participating shelters. This will help seniors cover the costs of vet appointments, food, and in-home visits, in which shelters will check in on the pet owners.
Since it’s been founded in 1992, Pets for the Elderly has helped nearly 100,000 seniors countrywide pay for their pet adoption fees. And their mission to help connect people with pets and assist them in caring for these loyal companions has become ever more important amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the organization’s executive director Susan Kurowski.
“Now, especially with COVID, bridging this whole isolation gap with companionship is going to show — when we look back — as being key to so many people’s mental wellness,” said Susan Kurowski, the nonprofit’s executive director. “And you don’t have to live alone to feel isolated.”
“Seniors take better care of themselves because somebody’s counting on them. They maintain a routine. They take their vitamins and their prescriptions on time because there’s someone relying on them, and that is so important,” she added.