Pet owners more physically fit
Date Posted: 22.11.2012
Health fears of the over 60s stop many from owning pets
Pet ownership declines with age as we worry about our own health, despite clear health benefits of owning pets for older people.
16% of over 60’s and 26% of over 80’s who do not currently own pets are so concerned about becoming frail or dying to take one on despite the proven health benefits, according to a survey conducted by TNS for the RSPCA.
The concerns are highest amongst those who live alone even though they would be likely to benefit the most, both mentally and physically, were they to own a pet.
A study of 1,000 adults age 65 and over found that pet owners were more physically fit and less likely to suffer a decline in health in the course of a year.
The RSPCA survey was commissioned to highlight the RSPCA’s ‘Home For Life’ service (www.homeforlife.org.uk), which is designed to give owners peace of mind about future care for their pets should they pass away.
The free service asks owners to register with the Home For Life Scheme and preferably update their will to care for their pets if they hadn’t made alternative arrangements for their care already. The RSPCA pledges to do all it can to find a new home for these animals.
“Registering for ’Home For Life’ removes the stress and worry about asking a family member to re-home a pet.” say’s Jo Curtis from the RSPCA.
Pets in RSPCA care are very carefully assessed under the scheme. All new owners are also thoroughly checked for suitability and are ready adopt and provide a loving home.
“We know that many people would love a pet as a companion in later life and hope that the ‘Home For Life’ service will encourage many more to take on a pet safe in the knowledge that the RSPCA is there to help,” say’s Jo Curtis. “The RSPCA is also an excellent place for older people to come to find their new pet, especially if they are able to look after a more mature pet.”
“The positive health benefits of pet ownership are well-documented and are extremely pertinent to older people,” according to GP Dr Catherine Ragan. “Dog walking in particular, not only provides vital exercise, but also widens a person’s social networks and interaction,”
“From a medical point of view, people with dogs or cats have also been found to have lower blood pressure, heart rates and reduced cholesterol than those without.”
Dr Ragan adds: ”For elderly people living alone pets can help stave off loneliness and foster feelings of love and security. A recent study showed that men were three times less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet.”
Thursday, 15 November 2012