Gina says, “I couldn’t live with out her. She gives me a reason to get up in the morning.”
George says, “ Keeps me calm. Best companion and someone to talk to who always agrees.”
Patricia says, “Makes a difference in my health and mood. I feel better because of him.”
Rita says, “She makes me happy. She keeps me company.”
Who are these Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley clients talking about? It could be neighbors, family, friends or even their Meals on Wheels volunteers, but today they are talking about their pets. Cats and dogs that provide so much more to these home-bound adults than just being pets.
After a long day at work or long hours in your home office, doesn’t it feel good to have your dog welcome you excitedly or your cat wind it’s way through your legs, purring to say hello? That warm interaction can make you feel relaxed and happier in an instant. For seniors who are isolated and living alone, those little interactions can not only make them feel happier, but it will also make them healthier.
Did you know that petting a cat or dog will lower your blood pressure? That simple interaction has been proven to reduce heart rates, lower stress levels and lower blood pressure in adults. Many clients of Meals on Wheels suffer from high blood pressure, cardiac issues and high levels of stress and anxiety; having a pet can be a positive addition to their health care plan.
Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley is committed to the health and well-being of all the clients we serve. That means healthy, freshly prepared meals delivered to their doors everyday and it also means helping them to live their best life. For many of our clients, that means being able to keep and care for their pet companions. With our Ani-Meals program, Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley provides both wet and dry dog & cat food, along with food for other pets such as birds to our clients on a monthly basis – at no cost to them. These supplies are delivered right to their door by our friendly volunteers.
An important focus of Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley is to address the isolation so many of our client’s feel. In addition to isolation, many clients survive on very limited incomes. The delicate balance of paying rent, utilities, medical bills becomes even more challenging when you add in the expense of feeding and caring for a pet. Having to part with a pet can send an isolated person into a depressed state. By alleviating some of the stress of feeding their pets, the Ani-Meals programs addresses not only the pet’s needs but also that of their loving owners.
The Ani-Meals program of Meals on Wheels of the Lehigh Valley exist solely on individual and corporate donations to purchase the hundreds of bags and cans of pet food sent out each month. When you think about how much your pets mean to you or how a pet improves the life of someone you love, remember that you may have the ability to help a senior keep their closest companion happy and healthy. To make a financial donation to support the Ani-meals program, please visit our website at MOWGLV.ORG.
-Bethany Gray, MOWGLV