Organizers of a pilot program helping older adults adopt and care for pets are ready for it to grow and expand so more people can enjoy its benefits. The Older Adult Pet Adoption Program (OAPA) has already helped six Harvey County households call a dog or a cat a part of their family. Now, more adopters are needed.
“We’re well aware of the research that’s out there, for any age, about the value of having a pet. It lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and it brings a lot of joy and meaning to someone’s life,” said Mary Carman, PhD, a licensed psychologist with Prairie View.
“Older adults, in particular, can benefit from owning a pet. The companionship reduces depression and loneliness, and knowing there is someone depending on you adds meaning to many people’s lives,” Carman continued. “Yet many older adults who want to have a pet are worried that if they adopt one, there might not be anyone to love it and care for it as much as they do if they have to go into the hospital for several weeks or should precede the pet in death.”
OAPA was formed to overcome this concern and enable more older adults to adopt pets.