Pets are an integral part of the lives of many Americans. But for some, pet ownership becomes more difficult with age.
Because we know how important pets are to seniors, Meals on Wheels has taken steps to help older adults keep pets in their homes. The program’s efforts aim to support seniors’ nutritional needs, health, and happiness at home.
By providing ways to lessen some of the burdens of pet ownership, older adults do not have to worry about losing a beloved pet because of challenges that can occur as we age.
Benefits of Pet Ownership to Seniors
The healing power of pets for seniors may not often be in the spotlight of health remedies, but they are a factor in promoting wellness.
Getting older can be lonely. Whether a loved one moves or passes away, there is a loss of mobility, health decline, or homes are downsized, it can be increasingly hard to stay connected the older we get.
Many seniors count on pets for companionship. Animals can provide several benefits to older adults who face loneliness or no longer feel a sense of purpose.
Here are five reasons seniors benefits from owning a pet.
Loneliness can lead to mental health issues such as depression. Pets are available and friendly companions, therefore helping to fight against isolation and loneliness.
Pets Encourage Routines
Pets provide structure in your daily life. A routine helps older adults avoid unhealthy behavior, like not wanting to get out of bed all day.
Increase Physical Activity
Pets help keep older adults active by providing the opportunity to play and go on walks. Even if mobility is limited, pets can spark physical activity in day-to-day life.
Reduce Stress Levels
Pets can reduce stress levels in people of any age. Contact from animals counteracts stress by lowering stress hormones, heart rate, anxiety, and fear levels, and elevate feelings of calmness.
Dogs can provide a certain level of security for older adults and help alert when something is out of the ordinary. Potential thieves may stay away from a house with a barking dog.
Meals on Wheels Loves Pets
You might be familiar with Meals on Wheels and how the program delivers meals to seniors who live at home. But, did you know that people who receive Meals on Wheels are eligible for free pet food for their furry friends?
Funded by the Older Americans Act, Meals on Wheels supports our nation’s senior neighbors by providing home-delivered meals. Meals on Wheels programs are operated by agencies across the country, serving nearly 2.4 million seniors each year.
By providing seniors with nutritious meal options and a company of dedicated volunteers who provide check-ins and companionship, Meals on Wheels empowers seniors to live independently in their own homes with dignity.
Home-delivered meals extend independence and health in our aging population. But the goal of Meals on Wheels is much more than a meal. While thinking about the challenges of living at home as we age, Meals on Wheels developed created solutions to address things that make it harder for seniors to live at home.
One issue that stood out was the difficulty some older adults face when it comes to feeding their pets. Animals provide companionship and a sense of purpose to seniors, and they are key factors in what makes a house feel more like home. Not being able to feed a pet can lead to the senior either losing independence or the animal.
The solution? Meals on Wheels provides free pet food to seniors receiving home-delivered meals. That way, both aging adults and their pets can remain healthy at home.
Why it Matters
Most can agree that the ability to receive free pet food with home-delivered meals is a good thing. But, why does it really matter to the seniors Meals on Wheels serves?
For one, seniors may have a hard time getting pet food into their homes on their own. If transportation is an issue, they have to wait for a family member or friend to bring them the food or lug it onto public transportation. Mobility, health, and strength can also make getting pet food difficult. A senior may struggle with the weight of a large bag of food.
There is also the issue of budgeting a tight income. Our incomes can become increasing smaller the longer we are out of the workforce. Some seniors may feel decide to share their own food with pets because the cost of pet food can be expensive. This may cause the person to become undernourished, leading to several, sometimes serious, health problems.
These factors and more can make it hard for aging adults to live independently with their pets. Meals on Wheels wants to make sure that no senior is left hungry or alone.
With access to pet food, individuals can age in place without having to worry about whether or not they can feed the pets that mean so much to them.
Do you know a senior who could use home-delivered meals? Help them stay independent and keep their pets by signing up for VANTAGE Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio, serving Stark, Summit, and Wayne Counties.
Receive nutritious and tasty meals delivered right to their doorstep, along with the supplies they need to keep their furry friends healthy at home. Call 330-515-5605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.