Takeout for Pets!

Furbaby and senior care are now leveling up in this US county.

Apr 7, 2024
Takeout for Pets! | Furbaby and senior care are now leveling up in this US county.

Pet care is moving up to the next level! Seniors living in Berkshire Country,  Massachusetts, who receive Meals on Wheels delivered to their door, can now receive pet food supplies delivered to their homes too. This is happening thanks to a collaborative effort between local community organizations, as the iBerkshires news portal reports. Why is this disruptive in the most positive way? The answer is that this compassionate move has the potential to keep vulnerable seniors and other homebound folks together with their beloved pets.

Community organizations with a heart
This pet food assistance program, which delivers pet food supplies for the month ahead on the first Tuesday of every month, is the fruit of a collaboration between animal shelter the Berkshire Humane Society, independent living facilitator Elder Services of Berkshire County, and the Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR)  service organization supporting people with disabilities. The program delivers animal feed to seniors who are local Meals on Wheels members and unable to visit a store to purchase food, or make a trip to the Berkshire Humane Society’s pet food bank.

Financial worries among homebound seniors with pets to care for are common. The leaders of the pet assistance program highlight the price increase for groceries to the iBerkshires portal, effectively leaving some struggling seniors forced to make sacrifices to keep feeding their precious four-legged friends.  

Another feature of Berkshire County, according to the Berkshire Humane Society’s Executive Director John Perreault, is that the region is made up of relatively dispersed communities, making this community initiative all the more necessary: “It takes a village to make a difference and the great thing about the Berkshires is we're pretty isolated and we have a lot of people that do collaborative work together and it shows that we can make a difference.”

Keeping owners and their pets together
It is hard to overestimate the added value in terms of wellness and quality of life that pets bring to seniors. As BFAIR’s Senior Director, Laura Baran, explains to iBerkshires. “The animals in our lives are family and should be taken care of along with the owners… And we’re happy to be a part of it.” 

Research supports the view that living with pets enriches the lives of seniors.  A recent study indicates that among seniors living alone, pets can help fend off cognitive decline.

A 2017 study titled “Depression, loneliness, and pet attachment in homebound older adult cat and dog owners”, meanwhile, indicates that companion animals prompt high levels of attachment in this demographic, and can lead to alleviation of the negative experience of living a more isolated life.

According to an Aging Care article on the healing power of pets for seniors, the wellness benefits can include stress reduction, lowered blood pressure, and a reminder for the owners to focus on the present and less on worries about physical ailments, and negative preoccupations about loss or aging.

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.