With a Little Help, the Sick and Elderly CAN Keep their Beloved Pets

With a Little Help, the Sick and Elderly CAN Keep their Beloved Pets

Imagine being too elderly and/or ill to properly care for your companion animal. You need your beloved pet more than ever as you battle health issues — and perhaps loneliness, too. Sadly, this is all too common for people in nursing homes, hospitals, and hospice. Feeding, walking, litter sifting, and trips to the vet are beyond their scope of physical abilities.

Fortunately, organizations around the country have mobilized to ensure the elderly and ill can continue living with their beloved animals and benefit from the comfort and love that they provide. Some of these groups also find homes for the animals later on, to protect them from winding up at shelters where they are in danger of being euthanized.

One such organization is Sam’s Hope in Pennsylvania, which provides food for pets of the elderly. Recognizing that older people live on a fixed income and may have to choose between feeding themselves or their pets, Sam’s Hope delivers pet food to those who can’t afford to buy it on their own. The group’s mission is to help people keep their pets, because having an animal around makes a person less lonely and depressed, and gives them a sense of purpose. They even benefit from lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.

PACT For Animals, also in Pennsylvania, finds foster homes for pets when their owners are unable to take care of them. They also provide this service for deployed military personnel. The owners are given updates, videos, and photos so they can see their fur babies happy and safe.

Pet Peace Of Mind, based in Oregon, has established a network of participating hospices around the country that ensure terminally ill pet parents can continue to live with their animals until they pass away. Volunteers help care for the pets, and also find home for the animals when the owners pass.

Some Meals On Wheels chapters deliver dog and cat food, and even treats, along with human meals. This service is available to elderly, low income, and disabled people. Meals on Wheels realized that people were giving their pets a lot of the human food brought to them because they couldn’t afford to purchase pet food. They partnered with a multitude of pet organizations that solicit donated foods. Now the recipients consume their own nutrients and their pets are well fed, too.

Helping Seniors Keep Pets is another wonderful group helping the elderly keep their pooches and kitties. Located in Texas, they help with veterinary bills, grooming and boarding when a senior needs to be hospitalized, and also provide food.

Florida’s Seniors For Pets is another non-profit devoted to paying veterinarian bills. They are devoted to keeping elderly people with their pups to maintain their quality of life.

In New York City, JASA’S Pets Project helps elderly New Yorkers care for their pets. Volunteers walk dogs, change litter boxes, feed the animals, and play with them. This program of Jewish Association for Services for the Aged was established in 1997 to help pet owners with illnesses, physical limitations, and low incomes.

Arizona’s Pets For The Elderly raises funds to pay adoption fees, spaying and neutering costs, and vet exams. They believe that all older people who want a companion animal should have one because pets enhance our lives and fill us with joy.

As Baby Boomers age and the United States’ elderly population increases, more and more seniors will require help caring for their pets. These fantastic groups help to maintain the happiness of both people and animals while decreasing the number of pet surrenders to shelters.


Note: Please keep comments peaceful and family friendly.

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    Something for people to think about that are not a senior person as yet (which I am) it is all very well having a dog to love, I have had them all my life, however when you can no longer exercise them as they SHOULD be, it becomes cruel and annoying for neighbours, as the smaller breeds bark from boredom. I don’t know how you get around this, as you cannot expect others to do the walking for you. I live in a Seniors Village that is pet friendly so know what I am talking about. Its all very well for the owner to think it is “cute” when their dog barks, however not everyone appreciates this “cuteness”!!!
    So just to let people know who think its a good idea for elderly people to have a pet, it comes with responsibility as well.
    I am happy to say I have a cat now, she is indoor only, and I miss my dog so much, however its just the cat and I from now on.

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  2. Julie Fowles

    I hear this alot ,in the UK they don’t do anything like they do in Texas or other countries,when elderly ppl go in nursing home they can’t take the beloved pet with them which i think is very unfair ,an sometimes they don’t have anyone to look after there pet ,an end up going in a animal shelter ,i think the UK need to look at other animal charities like Sam’s hope

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  3. Juliette

    I agree. It is important physically and mentally for the elderly to have something to care for and care about

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  4. MS

    Thank you for this important info — will look into each of these rescue organizations — God knows they need donations — thank God they exist — there surely is a need for such animal rescues — thank you.

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  5. Ronald A. Frizzell

    What is being done in Canada ? I know there is a shortage of Seniors Residences, Extended Care, Etc. in the Alberta area. Another thing to look at also maybe a Senior did not have a pet upon moving but feels lonely by themselves and would like to be able to bring in a ” furry friend” for companionship. Some private places around Edmonton area will allow it but they are very expensive and out of reach for most Seniors.

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  6. Arlene Day

    This is fantastic. I would love to know if these is any help for seniors in New Jersey. I live in an area where there are alot of senior trailer parks. If someone would contact me about this, I’d be truly grateful as would all my senior friends & their pets. I’m interested in doing this type of service.

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    • Elise Phillips Margulis


      Hi. Sorry to respond so late. I just read your post. I Googled NJ pet assistance & found

      -God’s Creatures Ministry Veterinary Charity Fund provides assistance with veterinary bills ($50 maximum).
      Financial Aid for Pets




      There are probably more if you want to search on the internet.

      Very nice of you to want to help!!


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  7. Leigh Vice

    This sounds like a wonderful program. I am elderly and have cats that will be put to sleep when I die. My children cannot take care of them and will have them put to sleep. I worry constantly about this. No one else will take them. In this town people do not care for animals, especially cats. This is a bad state for animals (MS) with no animal rights laws. Does anyone know of an organization in this area that could find them a home when I die?

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  8. Leigh Vice

    I have not commented on this before. Would like to know of any group in MS that would take my cats and try to find them homes when I die.

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  9. Mary

    Do you know of an org that helps to keep elderly with pets in Denver, CO. How can I find this?

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