Colorado Launches Pilot Project For Seniors With Pets
Allentown, PA – March 31, 2023 – From providing unconditional love and affection to offering a sense of purpose and responsibility, pets can be a source of joy and comfort for older adults. However, as we age, it is important to recognize that we may not always be able to care for our pets as we once could. That is why it is essential for older adults to have contingency plans in place for their pets.
LifePet.Care, a pet care administrator and Senior Housing Options, a non-profit organization providing affordable housing to older adults throughout Colorado have begun the first pilot project to help older adults make a pet contingency plan where they are asked to provide the names of people who can care for their pets, in the event they are unable, either temporarily or permanently. What’s unique about the program is that pet caregivers have to sign off on the responsibility before the pet owner can name them as the contact.
The form will also ask about the animal’s behavior towards strangers. Pet-smart resident stickers will be placed on each tenant’s door indicating that they have a pet. The sticker will have a QR code giving details about the animal. This is so first responders may know if the domicile has a pet that is deemed unfriendly or aggressive.
One of the most important steps in creating a contingency plan for your pet is to designate a trusted person to care for them in case of an emergency or if you become unable to care for them due to illness or injury. Normally, this would be a family member, friend, or neighbor who is willing and able to take on the responsibility of pet care. However, some older adults have outlived many of the people they would trust. “In these rare cases, we have asked Animal Welfare Association of Colorado where temporary foster homes could be found in cases of emergencies, says Robert Greene, Founder of LifePet.Care, “Seniors in crisis need to focus on getting better and not having to worry about the care of the pets as foster homes are available.”
However, older adults with aggressive animals will not have access to the foster service as their pets need to be in shelters with professionals who are trained to handle animals with behavioral challenges.
This pilot hopes to help reduce the number of animals going to pet shelters, provide additional safety to emergency first responders and give less worry to older adults who are in crisis knowing that their furry friends are well cared for.
“As a proud parent of a rescue pet, I think this program will be helpful to senior housing managers giving them more guidance on pet care in emergency situations. It will also provide peace of mind for residents that their pets will be properly cared for, in the event that they can no longer care for them,” says Vennita Jenkins, Senior Housing Options CEO.
There are hopes to expand the pilot across the country but this is challenging as it requires state, local shelters and housing organizations to coordinate the needs of many different types of animals.
Colorado has the right people for this challenge. According to safewise.com, Colorado has repeatedly ranked in the top 10 most pet-friendly states in the country.