Organization Connects Lonely Seniors With Shelter Pets During Lockdown

We’re in the home stretch of 2020 – it’s almost over! But during this year – which feels like a decade gone by in the blink of an eye – we’ve spent the majority of it indoors. While this has been less than ideal, the time spent at home has been downright lonely for many people living alone.

The lack of human contact among the most vulnerable of our population – the elderly – has been overwhelming. Many have been unable to see their loved ones. But the organization Pets for the Elderly has as a way to try to help combat the loneliness and feelings of isolation.

Since 1992, they have been helping older people to foster or adopt pets. But now that we’re in the middle of the pandemic, their work has become even more important. And they have also made the announcement that their grant program will be including financial assistance to those elderly people who adopt pets, helping them to cover such pet care costs as grooming, vet visits, and food.

Sharing the news with TODAY, executive director of Pets for the Elderly, Susan Kurowski, said that the pandemic has made their program even more important than ever because of the overwhelming loneliness felt among the elderly. She shared that the companionship of a pet has really helped to boost the wellbeing of many people’s mental health because they no longer feel like they’re living alone if they’ve got a furry companion.

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She added that the senior citizens even take better care of themselves when they know they’ve got a little furry friend who is depending on them. She says they’ve noted that many of their seniors actually maintain their routines and take their medications and whatnot when they’ve got a pet who needs them to stick around.

And even some of the seniors who’ve been part of the program themselves have noted a difference. One woman, Pat Smith, shared with TODAY that her dog, Brady, has been a “wonderful companion” to her during the pandemic. She said that Brady helps to keep her active and has been her absolute best friend throughout it all. Smith added that “everybody should have a pet.”

And we couldn’t agree more. Animals really do have a way of bringing out the best in us. What do you think of the work this organization is doing to help get senior citizens in touch with pets in need? Let us know!

Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.

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