CHEYENNE – The Care for Critters program in Sweetwater County is back for its third year, helping Southwest Wyoming seniors take care of their pets from April 23 to May 24 in Rock Springs and Green River.
The Care for Critters program helps seniors pay for food, vaccines and other items for their pets through donations, as well as funding from AARP Wyoming, and PETCO. Senior Centers in Rock Springs and Green River have placed a tree of sharing in their facilities. Seniors who need assistance with veterinary fees, pet accessories, or pet food may fill out a request shaped like a bone for dogs and a paw for cats. Community members willing to donate to the cause can pick up paws or bones and fulfill the request.
Last year the community fulfilled 88 requests in Rock Springs and another 53 in Green River. Anyone interested in applying for assistance through the program can pick up an application at either senior center or through the local food bank.
“I tell people when they sign up that I can only help you with what donations come in, but it comes in every year,” says Maxine Yeager, Marketing and Events Coordinator, Young at Heart Senior Center in Rock Springs. “There is just amazing support from the community.”
Local Campaign Kickoff Includes Free Movie and Dinner
The Care for Critters campaign gets kicked off April 23 with a movie and dinner celebration in Rock Springs. AARP’s Movies for Grownups will present a free showing of the movie, “Finding Dory,” at the Star Stadium 10 movie theatre, starting at 4:30 p.m. The movie is free to AARP members as well as the public. Registration for the movie is required at this website of by phone at 1-877-926-8300.
After the movie, a free pasta dinner sponsored by AARP Wyoming, will take place at the Young At Heart Center in Rock Springs at 6:15. The dinner is open to the public.
The event will culminate with a lunch at the Golden Hour Senior Center in Green River, starting at 11:30 a.m. on May 24. Any and all participants in the Care for Critters program are invited to take part in the lunch.
Care For Critters Impacts Social Isolation
The Care for Critters program seeks to battle social isolation, which, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, may be a greater public health hazard than obesity.
“Many of our seniors live alone and their pet is their family,” says Yeager. “It keeps them mentally healthy to have someone who is excited to greet them when they come to their door.”
Led by AARP Foundation, in collaboration with the Gerontological Society of America, Give an Hour, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and UnitedHealth Group, Connect2Affect is working to end social isolation among adults age 50 and older by fostering a deeper understanding of loneliness and isolation and drawing much-needed attention to the issue.