Financial troubles can affect every area of our life – including how well we’re able to care for our family pets. Roughly 28 million seniors are considered economically insecure, meaning they live below 250% of the federal poverty level. This can make it very difficult to pay for basic needs like utilities, medications, and food, let alone luxuries like pet ownership.
But just like everyone else, seniors are very attached to their pets. In fact, many studies have shown that, among other advantages, owning a pet can increase your lifespan, decrease your blood pressure, and lessen symptoms of depression. This means that separating seniors from their pets can drastically decrease the seniors’ quality of life.
Luckily, there are programs designed to keep seniors with their beloved pets, regardless of their economic situation. Our Bone Appétit Program at CareLink is focused on providing free food for seniors’ pets, whatever their income levels are, so that they can keep their pets without sacrificing their quality of life.
Bone Appétit: Free Food for Seniors’ Pets in Central Arkansas
Our furry friends are more than just company – they’re lifelong companions. And for many seniors, their pets are a reason to keep living and stay active. That’s why CareLink created Bone Appétit – to ensure that seniors can keep their pets and improve their quality of life.
Bone Appétit is a need-based program that provides seniors over the age of 60 with the extra assistance they need to properly feed and care for their pets. Bone Appétit allows seniors to receive food, leads, collars, and tags for their pets at no cost.
In the future, Bone Appétit would also love to offer transport for seniors and their pets to essential vet services and even provide free vet services. However, we’re currently working to obtain these partnerships. If you have any interest in serving seniors and their pets in your community or know any local partners who may be able to help us grow our service offering, contact CareLink at 501-372-5300.
Bone Appétit FAQ
How is Bone Appétit funded?
Bone Appétit started in 2020 thanks to a grant from Meals on Wheels of America to help provide aid to seniors’ pets in Faulkner, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski, and Saline counties. It is funded exclusively by grants and individual donations, so in order for us to continue supporting Central Arkansas seniors and their furry friends, we rely on community support. A $20 gift can help a senior not worry about how they plan on feeding their best friend for the next month.
If you would like to donate to help seniors in your community keep their beloved pets, contact CareLink’s Development team at (501) 688-7475 or make a donation today!
What can I have delivered through Bone Appétit?
Bone Appétit allows seniors to receive assistance with more than just free food for their pets. They can currently order pet food, collars, leads, and name tags.
What kind of pets do you cover?
We currently supply food and essential items for dogs, cats, birds, and small pets like guinea pigs and hamsters. You can’t get food for exotic pets or farm animals through the Bone Appétit program at this time.
How can I get free pet supplies?
To qualify for the Bone Appétit program, you have to live in one of CareLink’s 6 service areas, Faulkner, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski, or Saline counties, and be over the age of 60.
Call Information and Assistance at (501) 372-5300 to speak with an information specialist, or email us at info@CareLink.org to start the application process.
The Benefits of Seniors Owning a Pet
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of owning a pet for anyone – including the seniors in our lives -is community. If you live alone, or if you simply aren’t as sociable as you used to be, you may find that you miss having someone to talk to. Pets are wonderful companions and great listeners, enforcing the fact that many seniors who own pets report feeling less lonely than those without pets.
Better mental health
Did you know there are several mental health benefits that come with pet ownership? If you are feeling down or depressed, snuggling with or petting your furry loved one can actually be incredibly helpful.
Studies have shown that owning a dog or cat can be as effective as certain medications. They help reduce stress and anxiety, helping you sleep better at night, and having a pet encourages you to get outside, meet new people, and stay active.
Pets are also good for your brain. Studies have shown that having a pet can help you grow new brain cells and form new neural pathways. This is good for fighting the symptoms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Better physical health
Having a pet can help you get more exercise and be healthier overall. For instance, having a dog encourages you to walk more and be more active. Studies have shown that dog owners walk more than non-dog owners by up to five miles per week.
While this activity level may not be physically possible for all seniors, even just a few extra steps to feed and play with your pet can help prolong your life and improve your mobility. Owning pets can also lower your blood pressure and heart rate and decrease your production of the stress hormone cortisol–all of which are beneficial for your health!
Pet Food Assistance for Seniors in Central Arkansas
For more information about CareLink’s Bone Appétit program and how you can help, contact CareLink today.
Mary williamson says
I would love to get help with food for my cats that would be a blessing