Oswego County taking unique approach to help seniors cope with isolation

Local News

OSWEGO COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Oswego County Office for the Aging has turned into an animal shelter of sorts.

Sara Sunday, administrator for the office, has had cats and dogs in her office for a few weeks now. Those animals aren’t alive, though. They are animatronic animals.

Through a New York State program, Oswego County has been able to acquire the animals to give to senior citizens who are struggling with the isolation and loneliness that COVID-19 brings.

By the end of the week, the Office for the Aging will have handed out 30 of the cats and dogs to those 60-years-old and older who are considered to be in isolation.

The office has a screening process and accepts applications for those in need.

Our seniors are isolated. They are lonely. They are scared and we want these pets in their hands to give them a little joy and happiness. Something to ease their loneliness.

Sara Sunday — Administrator for the Oswego County Office for the Aging

One of the 30 recipients is Robert Miller of Oswego.

NewsChannel 9 has spoken with Richard a few times in the last 12 months. He is unable to see his wife who is in a nursing home.

The last time they were together in person was on Halloween. That visit could only be for about 20 minutes.

The Office for the Aging will hand out 45 of the animals in total in the coming weeks. There are already plans to order more. They are paid for by New York State and through CARES ACT funding. Once a person received one, they can keep it forever.

The Office for the Aging is taking applications for the animals, but wants to focus on those 60 and older who are in isolation. That doesn’t necessarily mean they live far away or far from neighbors, though.

It applies to those who live alone and may not have the means or feel safe enough to leave their homes.

If you’d like to learn more, click here.

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