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December 04, 2016
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community living

Growing older with pets: keeping our best friends

LIBERTY, NY — Pets continue to play a critical role as people age, sometimes these friends may be our main companions. A free program highlighting the research of the emotional and health benefits of pet ownership with a special emphasis on the benefits to older adults will be offered on Thursday, May 15 by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Sullivan County’s Caregiver Resource Center (CRC). This class will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Gerald J. Skoda Extension Education Center. Presenters from the American Society of Aging (ASA) will offer available resources and identify innovative programs that can help participants as they age and keep their pets close.

Participants of this educational opportunity will learn the role of pets throughout the aging experience and what older pet owners should keep in mind regarding environment, compatibility and mobility. The class will discuss advance planning for older adults that includes their pet and how to transition a companion and an older person through the continuum of care.

The three ASA speakers are gerontologist Karen Kolb Flude (founder of Age With Ease, an organization that works with older adults and their loved ones to promote a positive and active approach to the issues we face as we get older), Dianne McGill (executive director and chief executive officer of the Banfield Charitable Trust, that launched Pet Peace of Mind program in 2009), and Karen Leimberer, RN (Geriatric Rehabilitation and Care Management who also serves on the Advisory Council for the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging). Jonathan Fox, arts and leisure photo-journalist/columnist for The River Reporter and Dharma the Wonder Dog, who is the “official” dog of The River Reporter and a fully licensed/trained member of Service Dogs of America will also be presenting. Fox will speak about his own experiences in the community as the owner of a service dog.

Pre-registration is encouraged for this free program by calling CCE at 845/292-6180 or emailing Bonnie Lewis at