Animal welfare agencies, such as shelters, are dedicated and essential to protecting vulnerable populations. Senior citizens may often be a vulnerable population, facing the severe impacts of isolation. Companion animals play an integral role in combatting the risks of social isolation. The presence of pets has been attributed with feeling a sense of purpose and improved quality of life and duration. Therefore, animal welfare agencies have a unique opportunity to protect and combat the risks of social isolation amongst the senior population by developing and implementing key programming for seniors, with seniors. 

This session will:

  • Discuss the role companion animals play in combatting social isolation, and creating a sense of meaning for seniors, especially those in isolation.
  • Review the accomplishments and goals CHS has for seniors focused programming: 
    • Silvera for Seniors Foster Program- Assisted Living Facility, ‘Silvera for Seniors’, designing and opening a foster room exclusive to CHS cats. Increased foster placements and adoption outcomes. 
  • Review ongoing endeavours to increase programming for seniors and domestic animals: 
    • Keeping animals in home with their senior owners
      • Apply to Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) to expand licensing to provide medical care for animals owned by senior citizens with financial limitations
      • Provide resources to ensure animals needs are met such as special diets, behaviour support and euthanasia support 
    • Engage seniors with companion animals through community engagement opportunities
  • Review importance of inter-agency collaboration and support
    • Case study: intake diversion achieved through collaboration between Calgary Humane Society and Calgary Seniors Resource Society

Educational Topic 
Outreach and Engagement